Post #1 Extra-Mini-Side Project: Kevin’s Daily Reads
Confession: I spent a lot of time everyday reading the internet. I really enjoy reading what goes on in the world, why people do what they do and how I might apply the many lessons I read in my daily life. Moreover, I like sharing what I read with other people. Over the past few weeks, I’ve started to curate some of the articles/blog entries/etc I read each day and share them with my friends – the following are some thoughts and reflections I have gathered so far from this extra-mini-side project.
For the most part, my consumption of the internet means I spend my mornings in a few ways. Usually, this involves either waking up at 6AM and laying in bed reading through my twitter feed and/or breathing Hacker News and Quartz as I walk from my apartment to my meetings/engagements/happy hours. Like most consumers of internet culture, I mindlessly favourite and simply retweet things that I like. Additionally, as someone who is quite obsessed with all things related to startups, tech, investing, wall street, social issues, global diplomacy… etc over the many years and months, I’ve become pretty good at picking out good reads (they’re usually long…). Sure, sometimes they’re big named pieces from the Forbes and WSJs of the world but other times they are thoughtful commentary that appear on someone’s personal blog that happens to make it to one of my social networks that morning.
Parallel to my incessant consumption of the internet, I have also developed a habit of sharing things I like reading! I mean, why not? I like to have people who are equally excited about the things I want to talk about. Over time, the list of people I send out links to have expanded and regularly, I get good feedback in the form of great conversations over drinks/meals. Moreover, a friend sent me an article once about how there may be a correlation between what the people around your read and their intelligence … or something (I can’t quite remember. Will edit this post if/when I find that article again). Following that thought, I figured I would just spread what I read to my friends and then… well, we’d be on the same page. Hopefully.
A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to try something – that something came in the form of a curated list of articles. Given what I was doing already – spamming my friends with arbitrary links – curating the top reads and sending them out in one package seemed like the natural next step. In a very new venture kind of way, I started to think about my MVP, market fit, my audience and all those other lovely concepts that ultimately help traction and product dev. I started to think of my audience and wonder how I could walk that fine middle ground of 1) wanting my friends to be excited about what I was excited about and 2) wanting them to read what was appealing to them. I set myself some broad principles and off I went. Principles:
- Why am I doing this: Because I want to share the “greatest hits” of my daily reads to my friends/people who are interested and introduce them to things they may have otherwise missed. And I have some spare time between coffee trips
- It would be all operated from my iPhone – content sourcing to link shortening to compiling to distribution
- Every day I will send out 1 curated set of content; this set would include 5 items
- The format would be consistent “witty one-liner (bitly short link – or whatever short link the article came with)“
- I would have full discretion over what”items” would be included – items were not limited to just articles; they could also be blog entries on Medium.com, press releases, stock market updates, commentary on Hacker News etc
- Will strive for diversity: at least one tech, one biz, one social issue piece.
- To not overwhelm myself, I would take a break during holidays (recently, Thanksgiving) and send out only one set of articles for the weekend
- I would try to be as personal as possible – witty comments and messages included
So I started off by just curating some articles I liked into my Notes app on my phone and sending them off to all my friends who care (to entertain my love for news). Unfortunately, this got to a ridiculous point where my “witty” comments that preceded the links would result in big long blob of a text.
As evident in the picture above, it’s a little long and clustered. Figuring that I could format it differently, I started to compile everything on Evernote.
For now, I think Evernote does a good job of achieving what I wanted – to collect everything and display in an easy to read, easy to distribute format. Now I can just send my friends a “Happy Monday (evernote short link)” text and it’ll take them to the above photo (right).
That’s really all for now. There are currently 9 or so people who receive my extra-mini-project everyday and so far the general feedback has been helpful. What’s great is when someone tells me that they really appreciate being included on this project and being sent good things to read – that makes this little project all the more meaningful. If this pool of people expands a little bit more, I may think about automating certain things – mailing lists etc. Would also be curious to track which articles were liked/disliked/too long/too short/not satisfying/want more and the likes. More for later.
Truth be told, my goal really is to just spread some good reads, that they would otherwise not have come across, to people each day. We’re so focused on certain aspects of life and worrying about certain things when in actuality, sometimes the best moments happen outside of that – when you’re not looking. Hopefully, someone may discover something new from my daily lists.