Why, how, and where I learn about tech
Recently, I was having a conversation about what work was going to look like in 5–10–15 years. In the middle of our conversation, I shared with him some insights from some new research about how certain skills and attitudes can help employees evolve and thrive as times change and evolve.
After I shared that piece of information, he said to me, “ You’re a tech consultant. That has nothing to do with your day job. How the hell did you know that?” Without trying to sound like a humblebrag, I said, honestly, “I just read a lot….it helps me learn.”
It sounded like a silly answer, mostly because I think we take something like reading for granted because many of us have been doing it for so long. In all seriousness, a lot of my best ideas come from what I learn when I read. And while I’ve written about my desire to read books previously, I also spend a lot of time across various mediums trying to sharpen my knowledge on particular topics or be exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking.
As a knowledge worker in a digital world, I like to think of the value that I bring as the sum of my knowledge and experiences. The more I increase each component the more value I can provide. Experience comes through working, and honestly, time. But knowledge can come in so many forms, one of them happens to be reading.
After we finished the conversation, it got me thinking that I’d love to know how others consume knowledge for the sake of learning, so much so that I’ve asked a few friends/colleagues to map out where and how they consume digital content. To ensure I’m contributing, I also decided to write out how consume content, who I get it from, and where I find it. So without any further ado, here is what mine looks like.
Some background: I work in consulting but with a technology bend. I like to think I am on the outside (but adjacent) to the tech industry. As such, a lot of what I read is tech related. Having said that, I’m a firm believer that technology impacts everyone, so even if you don’t work in tech, many of the things I list below could be of value to you.
Digital Tools & Apps
I rely on a number of media content apps/sites to get information. Furthermore, I also rely on a number of aggregators/curators to help me find the best information. Here are some of my favorites
Medium — I like to read Medium at night. I find lots of thoughtful and reflective essays on a variety of topics that get me to think and stretch my mind. This tends to slant towards tech (and startups) but you can really find anything.
FlipBoard — I follow a number of different media outlets who have setup boards and check this daily to get up to speed on particular sites. Furthermore, you can also set it up on tags (ex: startups)
LinkedIn Pulse — I’ll check this once a day to get a pulse (sorry, too easy) of what people are reading and sharing about on LinkedIn. It’s usually fairly good at spotting trends or popular articles.
Pocket — I think Pocket is for storing and saving content when you don’t have time to read something. It catalogues and stores what you save and even recommends articles based on what you save.
Nuzzel — One of my favorites. I integrate this with my Twitter and it allows me to see the tweets/content that are shared the most from my Followers. It’s a great way for me to see what’s most popular amongst my followers. There’s also some features that allow you to sort by time (8, 16, 24 hours)
Quibb — A community of thinkers and intellectuals (mostly tech-minded) that share and engage in interesting content/articles. I typically find things here that I don’t find anywhere else.
E-mail is still one of the most effective engagement channels probably because of people like me. Here are a few that I tend to read multiple times a week.
CBInsights — I love the data and insights they share. I also laugh at least once every time I read Anand’s email.
Mattermark — Similar to CB Insights, great content and data. I especially like the curated content that they share from Operators and Investors.
There are a lot of great VC’s who blog and share content. This list doesn’t do it justice but here are a few of my favorites
Hunter Walk — Hunter is always sharing interesting content, responding to peers/friends and championing startups he backs. When he does share his insights they are always very thoughtful and concise. His Five Question series on his blog has great guests and he asks really thoughtful questions. Plus he just comes off as a likeable and affable guy.
Mark Suster — Mark does a great job of spelling out things as they are and giving his honest and thoughtful assessment. I’m not a VC, but I enjoy reading what he has to say because it really gives me a lens of what it’s like to be one. Also, similar to Hunter, he’s got a really diverse background (entrepreneur, consultant, VC) so it adds a lot of credibility to his thoughts.
Tomasz Tunguz — Tomasz has some of the most insightful posts, usually accompanied by rigorous analysis and data.
For regular/consistent content on topics of interest, here are a few places that I check frequently.
Farnham Street — One of the more insightful and intellectually stimulating blogs out there. I have to moderate my reading of this one so my brain doesn’t go on information overload
Stratechery — Ben Thompson’s content on strategy & technology is top-notch and very insightful.
First Round Review — FRR’s content is top-notch. This is an awesome place to get a deep dive on a particular business topic from an experienced tech executive. The content is not only interesting but incredibly informative.
For those of you who also consume a lot of content I’d love to hear what you use and where you go to in order to learn new ideas. With so much great content out there it is hard to fully know if what you are looking at is really the best so I’d love to see what others think.
For Additional Reading
So you want to learn more about startups– Benjamin Hoffman
The Easy Way to Learn Hard Stuff-Per Harald Borgen
On Building a Daily Habit of Continuous Learning– Andrew Savikas