By Étienne Garbugli | June 21, 2011 | 0 Comment
In my family, people read a lot. While my mother reads fiction (mostly thrillers), my father reads business books (lots of them).
Growing up, I was always fascinated by the effort and energy that my father put into underlining anything in books, reports or magazines that could be relevant to his work. It’s hard to imagine how much work that is but, to give a rough estimate, their basement is nothing but bookshelves, boxes and filing cabinets filled with knowledge.
While fascinated by the process, I was also very skeptical. Not only was it taking the fun out of reading, it was also taking him a good hour everytime he wanted to show you something…
As my father kept underlining (and still does), I joined the workforce, had ups and downs for years until I decided to quit and start my own thing.
Now, with starting your own business comes the opportunity to create your own rules and experiments. So, to address this problem, here’s what I did:
Simple no? Here’s what it did:
I started this experiment 3 years ago. Over these 3 years, the list grew quite a bit with now close to 500 insights on topics as varied as business financing and relationships. It’s not only a who’s who list of famous insights; it also contains original thoughts and things everyday people have taught me.
Sitting on so much information led me to start blogging again. Through blogging, I’ve come to realize that, not only can we learn through peoples’ interpretations of our writing but, the process of thinking through these simple insights generated many many new ideas.
It’s very easy to buy all the bestselling business books and read everything novel that comes up on Twitter or your favorite blogs but, your competitors probably do the same and… this will only lead to information overload.
The real goal with knowledge – and where you can out-learn your competitors – is to internalize learnings and let things you learn change you. After all, you can know the name of all the tools in the shed but, if you’ve never learned to use any of them, your knowledge isn’t worth very much.
By actively seeking opportunities to learn, absorb and reinterpret knowledge, you build the thinking that will allow you to out-learn and, eventually, out-teach your competitors.
Make sure you have the best learning process in your market. Reading is only half the battle.
Etienne works at the intersection of Technology, Product Design and Marketing. He’s a two-time Startup Founder, a four-time entrepreneur and a UX research expert. Etienne published Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want. The Lean B2B methodology helps entrepreneurs around the world build successful businesses.