I used to read everything. BBC News was my go-to for international news. Then the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes. For a while, I visited TechCrunch and Mashable daily. I used to get a lot of news from Facebook and Twitter. I followed reddit religiously. I used to think that reading as much media as possible was important for me to become good at my job. I used to think that reading news was productive. It turns out it is not productive.
So, for three years now, my only source of news has been Hacker News. I have discovered that:
- Anything important that happens in the world–even if it has nothing to do with technology–ends up on HN anyway. It is the best portal to legitimate news from other sites.
- I can let the community at HN guide my news consumption. They are the smartest, most engaged community of any site on the internet (in my opinion). Which means not only can they filter bullshit out for me, but they bring up insightful points worth mentioning, letting me cut through to the essential sides of an issue.
- HN happens to be a very diverse community. Before HN jumps down my throat for saying that, what I mean by diverse is intellectually diverse. Every article submitted to HN goes through a rigorous vetting process by which all possible interpretations of an issue are presented, debated, and usually respectfully addressed.
- HN helps me stay on top of my industry–that’s always a plus. But it also helps me stay on top of politics, economics, world affairs, sociology, psychology, etc.
- A lot of things make waves on HN that don’t really affect much of the rest of the world, but they’re really important. For example, I followed with sadness the brilliant and hopeful writings of Pieter Hintjens as he died of cancer. When he chose euthanasia, the mainstream media barely made a peep. But I’ve been thinking about him for weeks.
- I actually learn new things from HN, which is more than I can say for CNN and the rest.
The team at YC has done a very good job of building a thoughtful, engaged, smart and introspective community, without allowing it to grow out of control and become corrupted like has happened to so many other great sites. I’m proud to be a part of it and contribute where I can.