Rediscovering the Obvious

…stumbling in the footsteps of greatness

How do I keep up with my learning?

without comments

Blogs 

“From your 107 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 970 items, starred 10 items”

 Beyond that, there’s probably another 50 that I said “wow, this is good stuff, but I’ll search it if I want it”… I only use starred items for those that are worth revisiting in a moment of idleness… the ones that continue to generate value from rereading them (or, occasionally, ones that have HUGE lists of good links that I can randomly pick one and be rewarded).

Of these subscriptions, I think about 1/2 are technical, 1/10 are fun/gaming/enjoyment for me, 2/5 are leadership/process, and exactly ONE is the Indiana Legislative blog (mostly worthless, but humorously sad at the same time.

I’d get about 60 legitimate points for blog reading, based on a system I know of for measuring development.

Books

At any given time I probably have 5-10 books in various stages of completion, scattered at various reading locations at my home and office. Usually, I have 2 leadership/business biography/Economics books going, 3 technical books (Chris Anderson’s WPF, Microformats, Petzold’s WPF 3d), 2 personal interest (an artful cookbook and a transit map history), and 1 fiction (just finished Piers Anthony’s Battle Circle trilogy) going at any given time.

The lead time on these books is usually 30-60 days, but I’m quite guilty of having silver bullets in that regard.. some books get read in days, others take most of a year. Overall, I probably read 20-30 full length books a year, although last year slacked off a bit, and before the blogging wave I used to read 60+ books a year.

This would work out to about 40 points a year, accounting for non-technical stuff.

Events

I try to go to at least one event every other month. These days, I tend to go for the support it offers the organizers/speakers, as most events consist of entry level topics. However, I make a point of attending each of the ArcReady events, and I’m excited in Larry Clarkin’s efforts to start up an IASA chapter here in Indy, or what Paul Hacker suggested for doing something like the Silicon Prairie Social in Indy.

Overall, probably worth 10 points a year.

Networking

Besides all that stuff, I also maintain a network of people I consider my mentors and people that I attempt to provide mentoring for when appropriate. Sometimes, the same person’s on both sides of that relationship. This network contributes heavily to information flow and awareness, because these are mostly highly-technical individuals with a deep understanding of the industry and a recognition of my interests. Thus, when something exciting happens, I find out about it. Of what I do, this is probably the highest life value and payoff for effort put in.

Due to the utterly subjective nature, I can’t really score this.

Blogging

I don’t really blog to learn, but several times I’ve found my own blog now, so that helps a lot, and it contributes indirectly to all of the other aspects, especially networking. 84 posts in the last year, probably 40 of them at least semi-technical.

~10 points based on the time-invested score.

Ramifications

All this said, what does this cost? Surprisingly little. Overall, I probably spend less than an hour a day on this sort of thing. Reading blogs becomes highly efficient with my current pattern (skim title, consume short posts of interest, pop interesting long ones to another window for consumption throughout the day).  Fifty posts usually takes about 4 minutes to triage, then longer posts get what they’re worth later. The book reading is hard to count up, but pleasure reading can consume anywhere from 10 minutes to three hours on a given day. Networking has real expenses, occasionally, but it’s almost always worth it.

Written by erwilleke

January 4th, 2008 at 11:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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