Reading vs. Doing: Balancing Learning & Taking Action


I’m sitting here writing these words with 14 different tabs open in my browser. 6 of them are articles about startups, 3 are about marketing, 3 about conversational bots and 2 are about the Philadelphia Eagles.

Will I read all of them?


But I want to.

I want to open those tabs and spend the rest of my day sinking my teeth into the insights the authors have written and the studies conducted by these researchers.

What I’ve discovered over the last few years is that this thirst will never be quenched.

I want to learn and read more resources for healthcare, sleep, technology, startups, autonomous cars, psychology, mindfulness, and that’s just the beginning…

I’m a firm believer that life long learning is a driver for growth from both a professional and personal perspective. Charlie Munger, the business partner of Warren Buffett has spoke frequently about the power of reading:

In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.

One of other favorite quotes from Charlie Munger that was curated by Tren Griffin is:

You have to have a temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things.  Most people don’t grab the right ideas or don’t know what to do with them.

I stumbled upon this tweet from 500 Startups founder, Dave McClure last week, shared it, and it struck a chord with many:

The message here is simple:

Put in the work.

We live in a world where information is plentiful and you can always find advice. You can spend years reading advice from thousands of entrepreneurs or you can start shipping and learning your own lessons.

I’ve found that there are two types of content we can consume.

Applicable content & curiosity content.

Applicable content is a piece of content that will help you solve a problem that you’re facing right now and can apply the information quickly. Curiosity content is an article that you click without actually knowing what you’re getting from it or simply for entertainment purposes.

A blog post that highlights five lessons learned from a fashion startup is unlikely going to change my world. A compilation of 30 different vines showing people fall down a hill isn’t going to improve my skills. An article about communication on a remote team on the other hand is something very applicable as the teams for both Crate and Hustle & Grind begin to grow.

Applicable content is useful and should be consumed as needed. Curiosity content should also be consumed but as an entrepreneur, it’s important to control the habit.

I’ve found three ways to consume content without spinning my tires:

  1. Give Yourself A Time Limit: I give myself a maximum time of 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes over lunch and 30 minutes in the evening to consume content each day. Otherwise, I’ll get lost on Medium or in the archives of a blog about SaaS.
  2. Listen To Audio Books & Podcasts: I’ve recently signed up for Audible and have been consuming content passively while driving or working.

Morgan Brown, Entreprener and author of Growth Engines recently did a rant on snapchat about Productivity Porn. The idea was simple: Stop spending so much time watching others be productive & spend more time actually being productive. 

I guess there’s irony in the fact that you’re currently reading this post.

So I’m going to end it with a Major Key: