A couple of weekends ago I was coding at TechCrunch Disrupt’s hackathon. This was my first full 24 hour coding hackathon and it was a lot of fun. While taking a break, I had pizza in my one hand and other scrolling down an article about how some guy shut his company down and lessons he learnt. Harish, who was sitting next to me pointed out – “we are reading the same thing!” I looked over his screen and indeed we were. He mentioned that he found the article on Hacker News and started talking about that particular article and in general content like that. We talked about how fluffy most of this content is and doesn’t add much value to the user, just like porn. He was quick enough to coin the ‘Entreporn’ term.
It is true.
Most of the articles – lessons learnt, “10 things you can do to get X”, etc. – just like porn are pieces of content that make one excited and give a feeling of achieving something by reading other’s stories. But the truth is that these articles don’t add much value to a startup founder’s life (this blog post included.) You don’t accomplish anything by reading about other’s experiences other than getting few ideas which you may or may not remember when you are actually in that situation.
Some of you may disagree. You might provide a few instances when you read something related to entrepreneurship and it changed your life. Actually, I myself have got a lot of value out of reading the JFDI blog post by Mark Suster. There was a time (back in 2007) when I was obsessed with reading TechCrunch. I made sure I don’t miss ANY story posted on the blog (they used to write 5-6 posts back then). More recently, I have also been checking my Twitter stream, Hacker News and other sources often a day and spent a few hours reading Entreporn because it gave me insights into things and supposedly made me a lot more prepared to work on my startup.
You bet I was wrong.
These feel-good articles do add value, but the value added by reading these articles is far less than by actually doing things and putting that time & energy into your own startup. Once I started ignoring most of this content, my productivity level increased a lot. By choosing not to read all the interesting articles, I don’t feel like I am missing out on some great advice or some snazzy marketing tactics. I only read articles/blog posts that I come across at least 2-3 different sources without making much effort. This helps me clear out a lot of noise/fluff and get to the important content only.
For all those people reading this, try cuting down on Entreporn (like this one) for a week and notice the change in your startup’s productivity.
Got any other productivity ideas? Would love to know about them in comments below or HN.