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How We Work: Collecting Information and Staying Current

As part of our “How We Work” series, we answer questions that we have received from readers to pull back the curtain and show you the technology, principals and processes that power our business. If you’re looking for the usual weekend reading, make sure you sign up for our Weekly Profile to see those articles that we want to pass along.

A common question we get from Weekly Profile subscribers relates to the variety of sources of information that we pull from each week in our recommended articles. The question is usually expressed along the lines of, “Do you guys actually go to all of those websites every week to see if there is anything new? Isn’t that really time consuming?” The short answer to this question is no, we don’t go to these sites every week. Instead, we use a number of tools to organize our reading and all of the research that we are doing. We know our readers are busy. We can help you find a way to centralize information in one spot. Here is how we at The CP Journal do it and how you can access it.

We rely on two tools, Feedly and Hootsuite, to centralize information and research. These platforms let us create streams for the eight different areas that help us find sources of information that are relevant to us. These eight areas include:

  • There is a Business category, which I divide up to have a stream of information from investors and another one that encompasses thought leaders (people with informed options relating to their area of expertise) from a variety of different businesses.
  • There is a Defense category, which is divided up between the businesses that make up the industry and a stream for thought leaders from the military.
  • There is a Domestic Security category, which gets divided up between influential writers that focus on law enforcement and private security.
  • There is a Lifestyle category, which is my catchall category for interesting people that I like to follow and another stream for news.

These categories have been continuously expanded and contracted as I continue to find new sources, refine the mental models I use to organize information and as my interests shift and evolve.

Feedly is how I aggregate all of the blogs and websites that I like and enjoy reading, and it is organized using the aforementioned eight streams. I read a lot of blogs because I like learning about how people think about a topic and what their opinions are. Once someone has earned my trust by providing logical and rational arguments to show why their opinions are informed (not just biased political or religious slants about a topic,) I want to go beyond just headlines to learn why they feel that way. I use the pro version of Feedly (which only costs about $50 a year) so that I can clip articles directly into Evernote. I do this for two reasons. If an article is really good, I put it into our “Company Library” notebook so that someone else can read it, or I clip it into an “Offline Reading” notebook that I will come back to later on or perhaps while flying.

Hootsuite is how I quickly read through different lists that I have set up in Twitter. Instead of going into Twitter and looking at each list on its own (Twitter doesn’t make it that easy to find and open lists,) I have a feed in Hootsuite set to display those lists. For each of the eight streams that I have set up in Feedly, I have a list set up to monitor those people or companies. Since writing blog posts take time, seeing what these thought leaders are reading, who they are following and getting their quick takes on an issue help me find new sources of information without having to find them in a cluttered Twitter main feed.

While I can’t share my Feedly page, here are links to each of the Twitter lists that I have set up in case they can be helpful to you as well. If you have suggestions for people that you find to be helpful, get in touch with us so that we can add them to our lists.

Want to see all of our “How We Work” articles? Click here to see the series.


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