The most important decision I took 2 years back..

Well, I stopped reading news.

I stopped consuming not just the mainstream politics news, but importantly, all of startup ecosystem (i.e. funding, M&A and related categories).

For instance, if you really ask me: I have no idea how much did Paytm (or a new startup) raised or what is Flipkart (+ employees) doing with all the money they have received from WalMart! On the other hand, I do interact with some of the really awesome tech startups that are in-making and are doing a lot of great work (without any PR drama).

A Step Backward? Or 10X Forward?

Frankly, NextBigWhat was getting into the business of news – we broke many exclusive stories. We had all the big news, all the big scoops. After spending time in the ‘media avatar’, here is what I have realized:

  1. Media assumes that an entrepreneur knows ‘everything’ about their business – and the impact of his/her decisions. Which in reality is not even close to being true.
  2. Media is all about two extremes : Always positive sounding OR Always predicting obituaries (of companies).

Money, my friend is always in the extremes (you suck a person or you just fuck them) – after all, people need new heroes/role models or lynch the ones who have grown too big.

What about the actual truth? The truth lies somewhere in the middle.But, let me tell you that perspective thinking does not bring pageview$.

This polarity position only helps the media entities, but not you (as a reader). This sort of news consumption not just fucks your peace of mind, but also distracts you from your long-term focus.

I have been to many networking meetups / interacted with many founders and have noticed that the only thing people talk is about other people.

A founder is more worried about the amount of funding his/her competitor has raised. He/she isn’t worried about building a great product – the only discussion is around fund raising..and to me, that’s some boring and meaningless conversation (fyi: I haven’t been to any networking event in the last 2-3 years!).

Back to the story: Since we were turning into a media business and I was not really in favor of a media avatar, I decided to stop reading news. You burn the bridge and ensure that there ain’t a way to go back. Subsequently, we stopped publishing news (we haven’t covered any funding news / M&A in the last 2 years!).

The result? We let go of the newsy traffic – suffered a bit (people think we lost the battle) – but then, our key metrics are going up. We also launched product courses. We also acquired a company (did no PR drama) and integrated them into our offerings. We are also going global – but at our terms and conditions.

Why am I sharing this?

Because, I urge you to take a step back and see what you are consuming and how it impacts your life. Start with full stop to reading news (and then, get out of echo-chamber).

Here is what I have realized (and this, in my opinion is applicable to pretty much all the media, with one exception, i.e. The Economist):

The only thing reading news does to your brain is that it makes you reactionary – you pretty much stop doing deep thinking and you are always in a talkative/reactive mode. You are always full of information and you move from one piece of info to other, without realizing that none of this information has any meaningful role in your life.

You always have something to talk about (for e.g. hey! did you know that Bansals have bought a new house which is worth a few mn? Etc. Etc and more etc).

TL;DR: You postpone the thinking mode to ‘another day’.

Take a step back and you will realize you are absorbing less, learning less and worst, you are building an opinion about people/company based on what a media entity has to say. Your perspective is built around a media entities’ opinion, i.e.  you have totally outsourced thinking to somebody else!

My sincere suggestion: Stop reading news for a few days and see what it does to you and your business. Give it a try !!

TL;DR: News != Actionable Info. You gotta claim your perspective.

Cheers

Ashish.

PS: Early next week, we will announce the new version of NextBigWhat. So do stay Pluggdin.

PPS: I have used a few fucks – because I couldn’t really find a better substitute (suggest please!).

2 comments
  1. Very beneficial and the most useful thing to do as a self service. Todays world is driven through perception, emotions and marketing blitzkrieg.

    If something is free, then you’re the product. When it comes to media, I personally trust and follow organizations, who’re crowd funded or manage their funding ethically. There are still such organizations but their voice is definitely lost in the digital crap out there.

    It’s a tough thing to be so disciplined. I have been trying to wean away myself as well but it’s proving very difficult just like drug addiction.

    This mantra is the new age detox and provides single minded clarity in whatever we do instead of losing ourselves. Much needed for all!

  2. There is a very thin line between the amount of content you consume on the internet and your productivity. I personally keep experiencing it every day. For me it’s everyday’s one of the tasks not to cross the line or else I’ll waste my precious time. I am getting better day by day and now I know when to return to actual work.

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