Entrepreneurs are making our most recent century. And they are making it awesome. The best entrepreneurs, as we've seen over and over, are well-rounded, well-grounded individuals with good ideas and grit. The second two are on you. But I'd like to share some blogs I read that help me with the first two, and that will, for certain, help you with them. And, not to sound like a jerk, but anyone who says (or thinks) they can't improve on being well-rounded and well-grounded most definitely needs to improve on both of those.
The Altucher Confidential
Weird. Candid. Good. Insightful. Brave. Weird.
James Altucher has been, and not in this order, a fiction writer, an entrepreneur, an investor, a millionaire, broke, a programmer, and most recently, a blogger of some distinction. I'll never remember how I found his blog. But I will always remember why I have read it fervently since.
My first aspiration, and the thing I've worked longest and hardest on, is to be a writer. It is my craft and my art and my talent and I might not actually be half-bad. As such, I love finding new great writers, especially with unique styles. There is no more perfect example of that then James Altucher.
The first post of his I read was about a meeting James was in with some company owner who was going to business with James' firm, and how the man he was meeting proceeded to do cocaine and look at porn, no, show James porn in the meeting. Just them two, I think. Right, crazy, definitely. But, James' delivery is flawless. He is so candid. It is, honestly, refreshing. He can be crude. Ok, he is crude. He does it right though. He had me hooked with that article. His writing was so bare-bones, so revealing. Not just of this particularly weird meeting, but in general. He is a brilliant guy, and he shares exactly how his brain works. He divulges his stream-of-consciousness, parades it around nude and brightly lit. Good writing is like this. He is a good writer. And a successful entrepreneur, investor, and programmer. So, there's that.
I know you don't want to read about cocaine and porn. You want to read about silicon valley, and venture capitalists, and the latest college campus startups. I don't want you to read that stuff. Not as much. You will learn by reading James' blog. Firstly, the mere bravery of his writing style and content, by both what he is shameless in sharing and the direct and maybe contentious points he makes, is inspiring and something to learn from. For me its really something I watch; with every new post I get to see a pro instinctually disregard the boundaries we often (as writers, entrepreneurs, or simply just people) cower in fear and weakness as we approach them. This is something modern business founders need to see done right.
There is, of course, very concrete business advice scattered all over his blog. Seriously, what a resource. Sometimes his posts are mostly about business or entrepreneurship, sometimes a little, and sometimes not very much. But his writing isn't like that. He delivers whatever he thinks he can deliver with the most value, so the subjects vary. He writes an awful lot about life -- and remember, always candid and insightful. I started reading his blog because I admired his writing and his career and wanted to hear what he had to say about starting businesses and making crazy amounts of money. But it didn't take long before, no matter what his posts were about, I was reading them. Sometimes I didn't quite get them, at first. Sometimes I was less interested than others. But he is the real deal. He is a smart guy with the writing skills to say exactly what he wants to say how he wants to say it, and he simply tells it straight. Based on that alone I'll read anything he's got to say on that blog because I know he wrote it for a reason and wrote it well. At the very least, you can usually count on an awesome, crazy cocaine-porn client story.
I guess everyone should read his blog, except maybe very sensitive prudes. But this is a great blog for the modern "trep" because it really opens your mind. It shows you you can be more than one thing. It shows you that you should be more than one thing. It shows you how to break the rules. His writing is visibly done at a furious and passionate pace with typos to show for it, and it is still way better than yours. You will be surprised by his blog. It isn't what you expect in the blog of a man of his sucesses. So go read it.
James Altucher blogs at jamesaltucher.com.
The book was great. The movie was eye-opening. The blog is the ongoing, organic masterpiece.
It took me longer than it should have to start following this blog. I borrowed the Freakonomics book a while ago and read and loved a lot of it. Then I saw the documentary and really started to like those guys. I might have even thought that the blog wouldn't, couldn't, match the informative and enjoyable nature of it's cousins. But I was wrong. There may be disagreers, but I honestly think this is one of the best business reporting blogs out there, and has surpassed the book and movie as a resource for entrepreneurs.
The thing is, you will find information and stories on their that AREN'T rapidly circulating the blogosphere and popular media outlets. Whatever approach they take to covering economic news and choosing what content to bring to their readers always delivers unique, interesting information. That is, the simplest way to put it is really that while most other blogs and news resources you likely surf are all covering the same couple dozen stories or trends, Freakonomics is covering whatever they thought was important, or interesting, or noteworthy. They are more true to their course than you can find in nearly any other grouping of writers and researchers.
I may get a little excited about this blog because I've enjoyed it so much and learned so much from it. At first, it may not seem quite like the heroic, anti-mainstream blog I may have passionately portrayed it as. But it is. And it does an especially great job of bringing news and research that is utilizable to entrepreneurs in some form or another. Not necessarily in utterly direct ways, but in its reliable relevancy and its forward-thinking and constant questioning of economics, the business environment, and the world.
Stephen J. Dubner, Stephen D. Levitt, and many others blog at freakonomics.com.
It takes more than accounting and marketing to lead a business. In fact, sometimes you need to leave that to the accountants and marketers and just look for good ideas.
Popular Science is a long-withstanding publication that, though print magazines have been beaten and broken by the mobile web, has sustained its regard and popularity, with the help of its website. It really doesn't have to be Popular Science; I give them the shout-out because I've always enjoyed it and they really do manage to cover a very broad scope of exaclty what they claim to, popular science.
I suggest Popular Science simply as an aggregation of technology news and information across innumerable disciplines. Other resources certainly suffice. Wired may be my personal favorite magazine, and their site is similarly great. There is also Scientific American, and so on. Furthermore, your source for tech and science developments will likely depend on your profession and needs, of course. The ones I suggest here (really, Popular Science) are simply all-encompassing science reporting publications that will expose you to various technologies and innovations solving many differnt kinds of problems. An abundance of knowledge like this is absolutely valuable on a day-to-day basis to any would-be business owner. Seriously, this is probably the most concrete, applicable blog of the three. Know your industry, and know it well, but know all kinds of other stuff too.
Cross-disciplinary knowledge leads to creative insight and downright brilliance time and time again. There are books, documentaries, case studies, TED Talks, success stories, and endless amounts of research supporting this. Expose yourself widely and randomly.
If you don't read any of these, please, at least, do that.
You can read Popular Science online at popsci.com.
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