Unsubscribed From TechCrunch

Mark Cuban professes to read three hours a day. [He points out] that one great idea he gets from a magazine he spends hours reading will pay off a thousand times over for his business. The challenge then is to limit the crap you consume and focus on what’s actually going to help you. You know, so you can actually make progress with your company. I might not spend three hours a day like Mark Cuban, but I’d say I read close to two a day.

I stand by that quote I wrote in 2008. Since writing that post about what I read, and the follow-up post in 2009, there has only been one major thing that I’ve changed about the way I consume news: I listen to Podcasts.

I listen to an array of shows, but my favorites are TWiT podcasts “This Week in Tech” and “This Week in Google”. Each are weekly, over an hour long, and jam packed with the important tech news I want to know about. The hosts, led by Leo Laporte, are some of the most intelligent, knowledgeable people in tech. Often times I feel like I’m sitting at a coffee shop listening in on their conversations. The shows feel that authentic.

TechCrunch RSS Stats

Which has led me to ponder the question: do I still need to read TechCrunch? The answer I’ve come to is no. 190.6 posts per week is too much. It’s not that they don’t produce good content or interesting content, it’s that there are probably only 5-10 really important tech stories per week that I want to see. It’s not worth the effort to scan close to 200 stories to find a handful to read.

To compensate, I’ve subscribed to Wired Epicenter (15.4 posts/week) and ars technia web (8.9 posts/week) to keep some tech news in my reader, and anything else I’m sure I’ll hear about on the podcasts or through Twitter. I also trimmed down my Lifehacker reading from the full feed (125.3 posts/week) to the top stories feed (31.5 posts/week).

There’s nothing like not reading your feeds for a few days, and then opening up Google Reader to find 200+ unread Lifehacker + TechCrunch stories. It begins to feel like a chore, and that’s not the way I want it to be. Picking up my CR-48 and opening up Google Reader is one of my favorite things to do after a long day. Hopefully this will cut down the time spent reading and scanning hundreds of headlines, freeing up more time to read more of the really great long-form articles on the blogs I follow, keeping up better with the magazines I subscribe to (Inc., Fast Company, Wired), reading a few more books, and, you know, having more time to do a few other enjoyable things with my free time.

7 comments on Unsubscribed From TechCrunch

  1. Tim says:

    Great point, don’t over load on information! I don’t know why I never realized this before, but much like you rely on RSS feeds and your Google Reader, I rely on Twitter for the same purpose. I only follow close friends and news sources that are relevant to me, including Tech Crunch. I check twitter via third party apps probably 100 times/day but it often only takes a 15 seconds. To me that is the beauty of twitter, it’s not a burden but a valuable source of information that I can custom tailor to my needs/wants. The other nice aspect is among industry specific and tech updates I get tidbits from friends, which helps break up the chore of keeping up with the news, making it almost an enjoyable task. I suspect my use of Twitter is not the norm and is one reason a lot of people hate it, nothing against Ashton Kutcher, but I don’t really care what he has to say, same is true of most celebs. I even trimmed the entrepreneurs and techie’s that I follow because a number of them have become diluted in terms of content and evolved into platforms to continually brand themselves to their groupies, that too I could care less about.

    I still do follow TechCrunch so if I come across something that is relevant to you I’ll be sure to pass it along 🙂

    • Tim says:

      A quick follow up I forgot to mention, since you’ve started posting new blog posts on your Twitter account that’s how I’ve been getting them. While I do use a RSS reader integrated with my email client it’s just so much easier for me to do things via Twitter.

      • Adam McFarland says:

        I do think that over time I’ll increase my reliance on Twitter and decrease my reliance on the feed reader for tech news. The critical difference is that Google Reader is like an “inbox” in that you have unread items. The good part of this is that I never miss a post on a must-read blog, the bad part is, like I said in the post, when a monster site like TechCrunch posts a few hundred stories in between my reading sessions it’s overwhelming. With Twitter if I miss something I tend not to go back and pick up where I left off. There is no “unread”, if I’m not reading the stream when it happens I probably miss it. It allows you to come and go as you please.

  2. Oke says:

    This is so down my alley. So on point. It was yesterday I was thinking about all of the stuff that I have to do towards making the fulltime jump to my own gig. I subconsciously look at my google reader 15-30 times per day to see what I could read. It dawned on me quickly how much work I got done when I didn’t have the internet for two weeks. I went ahead and made another folder called “Time Wasters” and put all of the blogs I couldn’t live without. I checked it at the end of the day and there were 9 new post. I just checked it now and it is now at 17. I told myself that I will check all of my blogs every Wednesday, starting from next Wednesday. Man, I already feel so so clear and now know what I need to focus on. I am going to write about this very issue on my blog later in the week. Lol, since I can now use my time to do more for myself and business.

    The noise is way too much for me. I can either read a book that will help me on a situation that I’m struggling with or read tons of blogs that deal with the same thing I already know. I know that my creative will come out more in my photography and can actually start on the road in the right direction in my business.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      I like that Strategy Oke. Looking forward to reading your post.

      Down the road I may take what you did a step further and create a separate Google Reader just for TechCrunch and other high-volume blogs and check it whenever I want to, but not treat it as something I always have to keep up on. Alternatively I can just visit their site every once in a while if I have some extra time 🙂

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