I spend a lot of time reading each day.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 articles and/or blog posts.  Sometimes I feel like I neglect my work, but this time has also been the source of a lot of ideas and perspective on what I’m doing. I thought I would explore deeper, and really think about why I enjoy it so much.

1. Ideas – One thing I like about the tech industry is how transparent it is. People are so open to share experiences (even failures) publicly.  The opportunity to learn what colleagues and industry leaders are trying , and if it was successful is invaluable information.

Here’s a great example: When I set out 18 months ago to raise money for my business, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I knew it could be done, but I didn’t know how. Reading about how others had done it was one of the few ways I could figure it out. I read and got perspectives from different types of companies, at different stages, and in different locations. All just by reading blogs.  I had read (and still read) stuff like this to steal tips and tricks to use in my own process. It has been a huge help.

2. Perspective – No matter what you are currently focused on, it’s always important to keep your eye on the big picture. I think one of the worst things you can do to your career from a long term stand point is not to keep a historical perspective on industry trends. Paul Graham once said:

“Studying history helps you predict the future by teaching you which things are old enough to be permanent.”

Reading about current events in and out of your industry does exactly that.

3. Building Community – We all collectively benefit by the sharing of ideas and experiences.  Not only that, but on some blogs, the comments section is just as fun to read as the post itself.  Fred Wilson’s blog is one of the best communities out there.  Check this post from yesterday and see if you agree. My next goal: to make one comment on every article I read.

4. Building Reputation – I overheard someone say the other day about hiring: ” Don’t send me a resume or cover letter, send me a link to your blog.”  Just an indication of what people look for today.  As opposed to a word doc, its a living breathing thing, with updates, visitors and comments. A blog is a great way to market yourself  in any career field.

5. To Get Better – For me, reading each day gives me a great perspective on what I’m doing and helps me think differently and try new things to improve.  To know that people are dealing with problems similar to mine sometimes can show that I’m not doing anything terribly wrong, its just part of the territory. Along the same lines, to see some of them succeed and share those successes is equally refreshing and motivating.

Reading is a great way to test and confirm your own opinions, biases and theories. Is that worth such a large amount of my time? I just gave a long winded answer, but yes it is.