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Digital insights through the sieve

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A revised approach on what and how to read when you want to get smarter on digital without losing your breath.
(Originally published on Medium.)
During my last year in university I had the chance of taking an internship in OgilvyOne Worldwide in Athens, Greece, where I live. It was a remarkable opportunity because a) I ended up with a full-time job the day after my graduation (which isn’t exactly the norm for struggling Greek youth) and b) I dived quickly and thoroughly in the world of digital marketing which I still find amazing and full of possibilites.
Following that path and eager to learn, I began to try to reach more and more of what was going on regarding global businesses, publishers, marketing plans, social media, online services, etc. To support this strategy, I set up my Feedly account, built my Twitter and LinkedIn profile and followed everyone and everything in almost random fashion, like an omniprescent stalker of any content publisher referring to marketing, social, data, growth, content, SEO, KPIs, 360 and, of course, infographics.

That feeling

We can be smarter than this

As one would expect, reading everything that lands in your newsfeed takes a huge part of the week. I managed to keep the pace for quite some time before realizing how pointless that was: I found myself sending articles to Pocket just to keep my article count rolling, while most of the material coming in was stuff that I have already read elsewhere, or conclusions so profound that needn’t be reached again.
However, among the hey of buzzwords and social media blah-blah, there were a few specks of gold that justified all the fuss: Unique remarks by industry leaders, findings from humongous user databases exposed for the needs of a study, even the results of extensive A/B testing in landing pages that drive thousands of conversions per day. And almost eveything came from company blogs of services that rock in the digital world.

This is isn’t just content.
It’s 2,400 pounds of shared intelligence on businesss, digital and everything.

At this point, I couldn’t agree more to Tomasz Tunguz’s “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received” where he remarks that:

Advice can be a terribly dangerous thing, because it can be used as a shortcut for thinking.

And it’s true. What I ’ve missed the most was a line of thought, a path to experience and exposure to real cases and how they were treated by. I believe that it is the first time in the human economic history that we can have access to that kind of vast and deep business intelligence, and I am going to completely take advantage of that, thank you.

You are what you eat.

So, in that terms, please go and pay these guys here a visit. I am not going to say they are the only ones, but I think they are quite a catch. Please suggest your own best reads in the comments below.

  • AddThis, for social media, sharing tools, content, all data-proof.
  • Buffer, all four (!) of their blogs, for social media, productivity, and company culture big time.
  • Chartbeat, on content publishers, readers’ engagement, a true data university.
  • Mailchimp, for everything regarding e-mail marketing, again with solid data insights.
  • Moz, for SEO and Inbound marketing. ‘Nough said.
  • SumAll (now discontinued), KISSMetrics and Raventools, for both technical and social aspects of marketing.

Finally, I find quite interesting following LinkedIn, Pinterest, Disqus and Quora platform announcements. I think they are quite elaborate as products and with huge potential in shaping the web as we know it. But that’s just my thing.

PS: Read the news. Local or Global. There is great quality stuff out there, even though mass media can be a trojan horse for lies, crowd manipulation, racism and more. Try a New York Times subscription, Quartz, FiveThirtyEight, Shareable, a bit of Medium or Venturebeat. There.
Oh, and please subscribe to Last Week Tonight and The Vlogbrothers. Definately that one.

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