In a nutshell…

Smart People Podcast (SPP) is dedicated to enhancing human connection and fostering personal growth while expanding people’s world views through authentic conversations. We are committed to inspiring listeners through intriguing interviews with a wide array of thought leaders from every profession.


Smart People Podcast is a weekly, interview-based podcast that features todays most well respected thought leaders engaging in authentic, insightful conversation for the benefit of the listener. The host, Chris Stemp, and his co-host/producer Jon Rojas, utilize their insatiable curiosity and relatable charm to provoke their guests into giving the interview of a lifetime.

Every single guest has achieved a high level of recognition within their arena and in doing so has collected a wealth of experiences and insights that are brought to life in this top ranked iTunes podcast. Show topics vary greatly, including things such as psychology, leadership, education, technology, entrepreneurship, relationships, and much more.

Perhaps the best description of Smart People Podcast was summed up by a listener in the following review posted on iTunes:

It’s like getting to talk with bright people at a dinner party and skipping the small talk to get to the really interesting stuff!

How It Began:

Chris Stemp and Jon Rojas met nearly 2 decades ago at a school bus stop in Ashburn, Virginia. At the time, Chris was the new kid on the block and wasn’t too fond of Jon and his wealth of friends. However, over time the two became best friends and eventually went on to be college roommates at James Madison University. Upon graduation, both of them moved back to their native DC area where they would pursue the “path well worn” and find comfortable corporate jobs. Chris pursued a career in commercial real estate and Jon followed an equally predictable path by becoming a government consultant.

HS pic

Instantly upon entering “the real world”, Chris knew something was wrong…it was nothing like what he had expected. Despite the 6-figure income and window office, the lack of purpose and creativity gnawed at Chris on a daily basis. It would take 6 years before the long hours and soul-sucking number crunching would take such a toll on his body that he ended up in the ER with what was eventually diagnosed as stress.

At that moment, he knew it was time for a change – a change of both scenery and vocation. Chris convinced Jon and his then girlfriend (now wife) to take a road trip across the country to the mountains of Arizona where they would take one year off from the corporate grind and see what they discovered.

While in Arizona, Chris and Jon hatched a plan to utilize their individual strengths to create a platform that would enable them to seek advice from some of the smartest, most well respected individuals on the planet. Chris wanted to use his insatiable curiosity and authentic demeanor to connect with others, learn from them, and share their messages with the world. Jon wanted to utilize his passion for technology to create a platform upon which this message could thrive. Smart People Podcast was born.

Notable Smart People Podcast Achievements (Past and Present):

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Comments (34)
  1. Who wouldn’t want to listen to what smart people have to say? Very informative and interesting topics so far!! Looking forward to hearing more from you!

  2. Just started following the podcast, and I really have enjoyed it.
    Great dialogue and resources.
    Oh, and I like how spewak’s phones rings. haha
    thanks guys

  3. Love, love, love your podcast. I have listened to everyone of your podcasts and they are worthy of a good listen or two. Some I have listened to a couple of times so as to catch all the details. More recently, I feel the interviews have grown and gotten better. I can’t imagine the amount of work it takes to pull one of these sessions off, but from one, little, lowly listener, I appreciate your efforts. It has put many smiles on my face and made my commutes bearable. I like having something to ponder on and expand my knowledge to form more informed opinions and ideas. I can’t believe that I can listen to this stuff for free. Big and hardy Thank you to you both.

    • Lisa, thank you SO much for the kind words!!! You are absolutely welcome and thank YOU for listening. It means the world to us when we hear from listeners like you. It has definitely been a fun journey and we will continue to try to improve our interviews and sound quality. Again, thank you for the motivation!

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  9. I have subscribed to your podcast and anxiously await each new episode. You both ask questions that elicit the most interesting information from everyone you interview. I’m so glad you’ve decided to take this journey, and even happier that you’ve decided to let the other listeners and me come along! Thank you for all of the work you put into your podcast!!


    • Michele, thank YOU for listening! We love doing the show and love the fact that people enjoy hearing what these smart people have to say!

  10. I never write reviews,ever, but feel compelled to tell you guys what a great job you are doing. Your podcasts are extremely engaging and you ask exactly the right questions. The speakers you get are fantastic. I now actually look forward to my commute to work. Amazing work – I am spreading the word!

    • The review is greatly appreciated! Thank you for listening to the show and spreading the word. It means a lot!

  11. GREAT podcast, guys! I appreciate (and share in) your intellectual curiosity on a variety of topics (for me, a trip to Wikipedia can quickly lead to a wormhole). I listen to you with Pocket Casts on my Android devices–you’re in regular rotation with “Back to Work” (Merlin Mann), “Freakonomics Radio”, “The Moth”, and “90 Seconds on The Verge”. (Oxford commas FTW) I really appreciate the length of the show–just long enough to occupy my commute. And, as others have noted, your interview questions are spot on.

    I didn’t realize until recently that you’re in the NoVa/DC area (I’ve lived here for 22 years–wifey grew up here). Do you ever do live shows? Would love to catch you in person and hope that I absorb some IQ points from one of your “smart people” via osmosis, and–if it’s at the right venue–I’d love to buy you a round of drinks.

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  20. I love love this podcast. You have fascinating and relevant topics. I do wish there was more diversity reflected in your speaker selection – particularly women of color who are doing incredible work on a community / civic / artistic front.

    • Hi Jenn! Thank you for the kind words and the feedback! We will continue working on ourselves and trying to get better when it comes to diversity of our guests. I hope we can show progress with the work that we put into the world.

  21. Hi guys
    I have for the first time ever donated to a podcast. I have started listening about 3 months ago and have worked my way back through all eps. Love it. Love the topics. My favourite was the Jared Cooney Horvath interview. Thank you for your content. I do love the longer interviews.

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  23. Does anyone know which episode the quote “You know, I’m gonna be honest I don’t understand that – as a man I just don’t get it” in the podcast intro is from?

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