James Altucher launched a Kickstarter to buy Greenland. I listened to him tell the background story on Rich Roll’s podcast this morning. It’s hilarious, but more than that, it got me thinking more critically about how I consume content.
When I first got into reading blogs in the late 00’s, I read to learn. I would search for a something I needed to research and then subscribe to the people talking about it. I actively consumed content.
As social media began to take over and suggestion algorithms improved, my active, learning-based consumption turned into passive consumption. Every new refresh was like playing the internet slot machine. I became addicted to seeing what would be served up next.
What struck me about James’ story is when he saw a tweet from President Trump talking about buying Greenland he chose to go down the rabbit hole of why one would want to by Greenland and how one would go about it to begin with. This all led him to conduct a crazy social experiment and publicity stunt around raising money to buy Greenland himself. (Spoiler alert: he was not able to buy Greenland.)
James Altucher asked questions. Each question led him to more questions and more answers. In the end, he learned a lot about Greenland and a lot about Kickstarter. Both of these are small successes which added to his skillset.
This led me to the the realization that I am consuming incorrectly. I am learning nothing. I am flipping through the channels on the internet, seeing what’s on.
I am a hypocrite. I wrote a line in a marketing email for a client the other day that said, “Learning something and not putting it to use is like buying something new and leaving it in the packaging.”
Later in the day I saw an announcement on Instagram from YouTubers I follow called Colin & Samir announcing there upcoming course on storytelling. I love courses. I buy them like I buy books…more than I can keep up with.
But immediately I realized, I could probably take notes on how they structure their videos and learn 80% of what they are going to teach in their course. All I need to do is ask questions about why they are doing what they are doing instead of only consuming the content. (I will probably still buy the course too.)
The point is…I have access to all of this information. There is so much to learn. But I can only learn it if I pay attention and operate with curiosity instead of passively consuming.
As Ad-Rock said, “I’d rather be a hypocrite than the same person for ever.”