The Sites That Matter Most
My list, in order of importance, is:
I also hear of people getting jobs through Twitter, breaking into Venture Capital through Twitter, making high-powered connections through Twitter.
For technologists, only Twitter gets these kind of rave reviews, to my knowledge.
I had been using Twitter some, so I increased my usage. I also started being more deliberate about who I followed.
I dropped loud but fun accounts and focused on people who talked about programming topics that mattered to me.
Less of this.
Then I started following more programmers, more people posting coding observations, and some venture capitalists, for their business focus.
I also made a point of engaging with conversations with big audiences and high engagement more often, while contributing useful content.
There was nothing underhanded about this: I wanted more people to see what I had to say, and I wrote in places where they would see it.
It's been working.
I started using Hacker News. Of all the changes I made, this probably had the biggest impact.
I'd heard it called the Orange Hellsite, so I steered clear, except for occasionally checking articles.
Then I went back and took a more serious look, and tried using it intentionally for professional tips.
This meant avoiding a lot of the huge polarizing threads and focusing on the mid-sized and smaller, with technical content.
Also known as HN.
There are many technical topics you can learn today, but it's hard to get a sense of their respective value, what makes one exciting and one less interesting.
Hacker News has a good eye for the sweet spot of useful and interesting. With technical content, they excel.
There was a 'before' and 'after' for Hacker News in my life.
After, I started moving towards product and side project ideas influenced by it.
I still need to get better at making things that gain traction, but Hacker News has been helpful.
Product Hunt is good for teaching you about launching products.
The truth is that I create software products as services and I need to learn distribution, and that's what Product Hunt does best.
It was also instructive to learning about what rose to the top. That also shaped my thinking about what I could, and should, be doing.
Of all the sites I mention here, I probably find it the least interesting, but I'm learning to take an interest, and it's definitely relevant.
So I check it. You should too.
Reddit's subreddits - discussion groups centered around a forum topic - are some of the best sources for consumer review-type content online.
But Reddit is like Twitter here: it kind of rewards click-bait, and as the basic unit (subreddits or user accounts) grows larger, you see more it. So you have to strike a balance, between useful and popular.
My reddit usage was hobbyist oriented. I changed that, and consciously modeled it after being more work-oriented.
As an example, I removed myself from subreddits named after common English nouns - technology - and added myself to the subreddits for specific technologies - reactjs, lisp.
Incidentally, this had the effect of making reddit feel a lot more 'dry', but that's the tradeoff.
The site indiehackers.vc is probably the site I've grown to love the most.
It's a small garden: there's not that many live topics, at any time. It's not like Reddit or Twitter, which essentially have endless content if you're willing to click around. On indiehackers, at any given moment, it's bounded.
Yet everything on there is good. And because it's all good, you almost always come away feeling like the reading, or the visit, was worth it.
It has good articles from a business perspective and from an 'indie maker' perspective.
Incidentally, it was acquired and is now owned by Stripe, probably the most presitigious San Francisco tech company today. You can read that as an endorsement (I do).
The aggregator lobste.rs picks up articles I don't see everywhere.
It's like a more technical Hacker News, in a way. Everything is about programming and every item is well-researched.
It has good articles every time I check. I'd keep it in the rotation.
I'd encourage visit to these sites for anyone else who'd like to see an uptick in their productivity, and their development skill.
They're all good, and you can learn something from all of them.
They've taught me a lot, and I hope they can do the same for you.