A secret to speed reading?
I don’t read books often. I get distracted. It feels like a chore. But, yesterday, I finished the last 160 pages of a book I’ve been “reading” for 2 months, and read 240 pages of another new book in my queue. Today, while running on a treadmill, I read 40 pages of a third book that I’ve been trying to get through for a while.
How the hell did that happen?
I downloaded this really cool iOS app called Acceleread 3 days ago. It’s initial evaluation had me at 339wpm with good comprehension, and while I think the exercises will increase my reading speed over time, I don’t think those exercises get all the credit for making me suddenly read almost 450 pages of three books in 24 hours.
When I was reading some of the literature in Acceleread about how speed-reading works, I came across the concept of regression. Regression is the word for when you get to the bottom of a page and think “Uhh… what did I just read?” It happens when your mind wanders because you’re reading too slowly to keep it entertained. The theory goes that if you can read faster, your mind doesn’t get bored, and regression naturally stops.
I shit you not: what made me read all that stuff so quickly is I just decided to try to read faster. The minute I realized my mind wandering or myself subvocalizing (when you say all the words in your head), I would go back one sentence and refocus on reading fast. Maybe I was just having a temporary Rainman episode, and when I sit down to read tonight I’ll be back to my fidgety self, but I doubt it.
Reading list, here I come.
I am joining Roximity
As a technical guy in Boulder, there’s no shortage of opportunity. Earlier this summer I needed to pull back from working full-time on Signal Genius in order to pick up some contracting & pay the bills. With that, the flood gates of “Oh you’re free? Want to work on this startup/project/company with me?” opened up. Opportunity is a double-edged sword in Boulder. On one side, it exists and is everywhere. But on the other side, all that opportunity can induce decision paralysis.
When I decided to start seriously considering some of these offers, I had to put a framework around the decision making process. That included understanding what I value.
- I don’t value a big salary: just pay me enough to live in Boulder, go skiing, fix my car if it breaks, and go out on Pearl Street every now and then.
- I don’t value haggling over equity: there are basic ranges that are obvious to people who have been around, so just give me a fair chunk and let’s get back to work.
- I value team & culture: when shit hits the fan, does the team put their heads down with a big grin on and say ‘hold on tight’?
- I value learning: is the opportunity positioned in a way that will maximize my exposure to new experiences? For me, this means being slightly beyond the idea phase, and being along for the ride of growing the technical infrastructure, business partnerships, revenue, and team size.
That last one is the clincher. I’ve seen lots of startups in every stage, and it’s rare that an opportunity comes along where that kind of learning is possible. One thing became clear over the past couple months, Roximity is this opportunity. It’s a rocket ship about to take off, and I am beyond excited to be a part of it.
Those of you close to me might be wondering what’s happening with Signal Genius. Well, it’s certainly not going away. Signal Genius has the potential to be a really great business. I, along with my cofounders Jonathan and Rich, have put a lot of work into SG over the past year understanding the problem and refining the product. We all agreed it would be silly to just throw that away. For me, however, it’s simply time to move on. Jonathan and Rich are going to keep going strong, and I’ll still be involved as a technical advisor.
Two days ago was my two year anniversary in Boulder. It’s amazing what can happen in 104 weeks. I’m looking forward to the next 104 weeks, and beyond, with Roximity.
Building a business is like studying martial arts
Building a business is like studying martial arts. The first time you hear something, it sounds confusing. The 5th time, you start to understand it. By the 10th time, you get it, and you’re sick of hearing it.
But then on the 20th time, something starts to happen. You start to realize there’s more to it; that there are layers to the onion.
By the 100th time, you’re right back where you started. You have a deeper level of understanding, but with that understanding comes the realization that you have an even longer way to go than you ever thought.
Never stop challenging your assumptions. Never stop learning. The day you think you have it all figured out, you’re fucked.