“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
― Mark Twain
If you want to keep the software and services around that you enjoy, do what you can to make their businesses successful enough that it’s more attractive to keep running them than to be hired by a big tech company.
Over the past week or so I have had no less than a dozen people ask me the same question, “how do you find out about stuff?” One of the things that I preach to my staff at Topspin is to never answer a question for one person. Chances are if someone asks you a question, there are others who probably want to know the answer as well. Now it’s time for me to take my own advice.
The short answer is, I don’t find good stuff. I follow other people that find good stuff.
The important thing is that the good stuff is almost always pushed to me, which means I don’t spend nearly as much time as other people pulling the stuff. It’s an important distinction and it allows me to be on top of good stuff without a lot of effort. I could be a lot better about sharing stuff and I’ve recently employed Buffer to help with that.
Here’s how I do it:
- I get daily emails that pull popular links from people I follow via Curate.me or News.me.
- I subscribe to Dave Pell’s amazing Next Draft newsletter.
- I subscribe to Kale Davis’ amazing Hacker Newsletter.
- I subscribe to the Longreads weekly newsletter.
- I use the browse feature on Instapaper.
- I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds via Google Reader, though I never actually use Google Reader. I use the excellent Reeder app on my Mac and iOS devices. Worth the small price. Here’s a direct download to my OPML file, which you can import into your own Google Reader account.
Follow smart people on Twitter and Tumblr. Follow the tastemakers and smartest people in your industry in both applications and check out the people that they follow. Services like Curate.me and News.me will work a lot better and help you cut through the noise.
Finally, make sure you’re not just pulling all the time. Push to your networks as well and let people know about the awesome stuff you find. Chances are you have an audience that knows less than you do and wants to know more.
How do you find good stuff?
When you do something you love, love spreads through your work and gives it life. And work that lives and breathes is work that gets noticed. If you are not doing what you love, you should be. You can be. Even if it is not your livelihood, make doing what you love a part of your life.
Great experimenters measure their results. They probe. They fail on purpose. And when they find something that works, they hand the knowledge over to operators and executors who can scale their work.
Any man can find a twerp here and there who will go along with cheating, and it doesn’t take all that much manhood. It does take quite a man to remain attractive and to be loved by a woman who has heard him snore, seen him unshaven, tended him while he was sick and washed his dirty underwear. Do that and keep her still feeling a warm glow and you will know some very beautiful music.
Who knew I would be quoting Ronald Regan. It’s a fantastic letter.
if you want to be happy in showbiz (or any creative field), listen to that voice inside you. Even if it says “Fuck it” sometimes. Work with your friends. Avoid chasing fame or money. Just do what you want to do, when and how you want to do it. And if it’s not making you happy, quit. Quit hard, and quit often. Eventually you’ll end up somewhere that you never want to leave.