Five Essential Follows for Technology Leaders

Joshua Tree National Park, California; photo by the author

I’m self-conscious about the fact that I’m not a fast reader (around 375 words per minute), which is unusual for an executive. This is one of the reasons why I spend more time reading short-form content, such as newspaper and blog articles, as opposed to books.

I’m a voracious consumer of The New York Times; I also read Harvard Business Review (which offers a wealth of actionable research on leadership), FiveThirtyEight (mostly for its data visualizations — I try to avoid reading about politics), and Recode (although it’s seen better days and often feels like a gossip magazine). These publishers aggregate many exceptional journalists and subject-matter experts under a small number of “roofs,” which makes it easier to find valuable information quickly.

That said, I most enjoy following individual people. Perhaps the lack of a filter makes the content more authentic (they write about what they want, when they want); maybe I simply agree with their opinions a greater percentage of the time. And in the sometimes-bubble of funded enterprise software companies—think the HBO series Silicon Valley—it’s helpful to be able to learn from people who’ve been in similar situations.

So, here are five people who I believe are essential follows for technology leaders. Each has a unique and well-honed writing style. Some of them I know personally; others I’ve come to know through their writing.

I first came across Dave’s blog, Kellblog, more than ten years ago when he was CEO of MarkLogic and we were quasi-competitors. What I most appreciate about Dave is his ability to distill complex concepts into metrics or frameworks that make them easy to understand.

Some of my favorite articles are:

Jason, the co-founder and CEO of EchoSign (acquired by Adobe), is everywhere: on LinkedIn (where he’s recently begun posting almost-haikus), Quora (2,864 answers and counting), and of course SaaStr, the world’s largest community of SaaS executives, founders, and entrepreneurs (self-proclaimed, but true), which he founded.

Some of my favorite articles are:

Dave writes exclusively on LinkedIn using the hashtag #LucidLearning, which says a lot about how he thinks about business. Naturally, I have great appreciation for the role of COO, which is frequently misunderstood, and nearly all of Dave’s posts strike a cord with me. Lucid is also a great customer of Smartling, which is the icing on the cake.

Some of my favorite posts are:

Much of Tomasz’s eponymous blog focuses on the earliest stages of a start-up’s life, but many of the lessons he imparts are relevant regardless of stage. Tunguz is a serial early-adopter (for example, he dictates almost everything) and I particularly enjoy his commentary on disruption, differentiation, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Some of my favorite articles are:

A curveball! Particularly for business productivity and workflow software, good visualizations are essential to success; after all, visual learners represent 65% of the population. Through his blog, Infographics for the People, John seeks to promote infographics that engage the general public. John recently announced that he’ll be writing less frequently, but don’t let that stop you from exploring the 200 articles already on his blog.

Some of my favorite articles are:

If you have recommendations for other individuals I should be following, please send them my way!

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Chief Customer Officer at Brightflag. I write about issues relevant to and situations faced by SaaS companies as they scale.

Chief Customer Officer at Brightflag. I write about issues relevant to and situations faced by SaaS companies as they scale.