Dave, given the breadth of your knowledge, how do you keep up? Do you experience “learning overload?” What does it feel like for you, and how does it affect you and your business? What do you do about it and how do you counter it?
If I had a per-question charge, you’d have a bonus fee associated with your set of questions. But, fortunately, I don’t. 🙂
You ask an important question, because I’m in the same boat as any other information professional, trying to stem the ever-rising tide of information, the tsunami of knowledge that I’m supposed to assimilate spontaneously. Oh, and have a life too.
In general, I’d have to say that my strategy
is to try and improve the breadth to my knowledge, rather than the depth of any specific topic. I like to compare
wizards and gurus in this light, where a wizard is someone who can fix
something, but can’t necessarily tell you how or why. A guru, by contrast,
can’t necessarily fix something, but knows who to ask or where to go for the
answer. I consider myself much more of a guru.
Right now, for example, I’m in the middle of reading a bunch of magazines (Business Week, Wired, Independent School, Kappan), stealing time to read the superb Missiles of October about John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and listening to a series of lectures on The Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism: A History of 20th Century Russia.
In terms of specific technologies, I’m more interested in who I know who is
an expert in the tech than in knowing it myself, so I try to reserve my
neurons for learning *what’s worth doing* and figure I can always either
slog through building things with my existing toolkit or identify the right
person to make something really rock ‘n roll.
That said, I spend lots of non-work time doing other stuff, including
writing (which I view as more fun than work), teaching at the local
University, playing with my kids, photography, reading
non-fiction (history, usually) books, and going for long walks.
I can’t speak for anyone else, of course, but my personal goal as an entrepreneur isn’t to have the brightest flame in the
firmament, but to be able to have the flexibility to have the life and
lifestyle I want, which, oddly enough, involves doing interesting projects,
but not “working”, per se. If I wanted 40-50 hours of doing things that
weren’t fun, gosh, I’d get a real job with a local company. 🙂
How about you? Since you asked the question, can you share a bit about how you deal with learning or information overload?