3 Steps to Keep Up With the News Efficiently

October 21, 2016
I used to be able to read the whole internet, but now that I’m building Kumbu, it’s more difficult for me to keep up with market and industry trends. Here’s what I do to stay in touch.

You don’t have to read everything

Step 1: Be Async

Realtime is overrated. Missing Out is overrated. If you’re busy doing something, most news can wait. In 24 hours, most of the news becomes irrelevant, and it’s fine to miss it.

Which is why newsletters are a great choice to follow the news. Here’s how I do it:

  • I have a separate address for newsletters, different from my main email
  • I subscribe with enthusiasm, and am quick to unsubscribe if there is no value after a few issues

I read newsletters in one batch, almost every day. I used to have everything in Google Reader (RIP), but I find that newsletter currently strike the right balance between the number of “items” you have to deal with (ie say 1 issue per day/week) and the ability to quickly glance and notice if there’s anything of interest.

Step 2: Daily-ish triage

  • Every day, or so, I read most newsletters from the day before. This is the only email account where I sort things from older to newer
  • If I don’t feel like reading an issue, I archive it immediately
  • Any link that looks remotely interesting, I add to my read it later pile. I use pinboard.in, and this workflow to achieve this — unfurling the URL ensures that the original link is saved, and not a minified or temporary link.
  • I then archive the newsletter issue
  • That’s it. I don’t read the articles, and I try to get this inbox to 0 in less than 20mn each day

Step 3: Weekly-ish reading

The volume on the left is all my printed RSS feeds

Every week I set aside about an hour, and going through my unread list, read annotate and share relevant articles. I find that active reading (either through sharing, or annotating articles) provides most value. If I can’t come up with a takeaway for our business, it’s usually not that valuable to me. If I find something interesting to share, I usually add it to my buffer.

Here’s what I currently read

The following are my favorite business/startups related newsletters

Tech News and Trends

Entrepreneurship and Startups

  • Mattermark: an absolute must to follow startup news. They do a great job at curating 600+ sources so I don’t have to read them, and for that I’m very thankful.
  • Farnam Street Brain Food: provides useful framework for making strategic decisions
  • Startup Curated: Mostly startup news, currently improving their content selection
  • Track Changes: Paul Ford is my favorite writer on the Internet. The Postlight team seems full of smart people.
  • Remotive: A good roundup of remote working related topics.
  • Weekend Reading: At the intersection of tech/design and engineering culture. Makes me smile.

Product, Technology and Code

  • Gitlogs: trending github projects. A good way to find interesting projects or libraries.
  • Software Lead Weekly: Fun and insightful stuff about code, product management, and engineering culture.
  • Hacker Newsletter: reading hacker news daily can be exhausting. Hacker Newsletter reaches a good balance at finding what’s interesting. If that’s still too much, the Macro is ok too.
  • Import Python: articles and project around python. At least one article per week is relevant to what we’re doing.
  • FrontEnd Focus: html5, javascript, css inspiring examples.
  • Data is plural: new open data sets can give new app ideas or new usage scenarios.
  • Designernews: weekly digest of the top posts on the designernews community.
  • SaaS Club: eFounders various curators are good at finding under the radar startups

How do I find newsletters ?

  • Word of mouth — when people send me interesting links, I always answer with “where did you find that?”
  • Letterlist isn’t bad either, but I try to be mindful not to be overwhelmed with too many subscriptions
  • Unsubscribe — When something stops being interesting, make place for something that is.

I’m starting to share insights on some of the tools and processes we use and love at Kumbu. Let me know what you think.

Please share this article if it’s useful to you, thanks!

Ziad Wakim

In Paris. Building the @getkumbu Digital Souvenir Box. I also do #ECM for @EVER_TEAM.

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