360° Coverage : How I'm Informed With Tom Coates Of Product Club

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How I'm Informed With Tom Coates Of Product Club

Apr 25 2014, 11:31am CDT | by

We are all involved in different interests, careers, and aspirations. Keeping informed is an important part of evolving your perspective, but also staying up-to-date. How I’m Informed is a look into...

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13 weeks ago

How I'm Informed With Tom Coates Of Product Club

Apr 25 2014, 11:31am CDT | by

We are all involved in different interests, careers, and aspirations. Keeping informed is an important part of evolving your perspective, but also staying up-to-date. How I’m Informed is a look into the reading and learning habits of people from all walks of life. 

Tom Coates is co-founder of Product Club, a product development and invention company. He tweets @tomcoates, and has been writing about technology since 1999 at Plasticbag.org.

What is your daily reading habit?

My reading habits have changed a lot over the years. I had a ritual of waking up around 8am, spending about an hour on the web reading and writing before heading into work, and then keeping up with various discussions and news sites throughout the day. This escalated even more when RSS readers started to become popular. I’d be trying to keep up with several hundred sites – mostly interesting individuals talking about technology and the web, but I’d also be a member of several online communities where I could stretch my legs in various other areas.

A normal day for me probably starts with checking Twitter to see what my friends are up to, and then I’ll probably have it on in the background pretty much all day. I dip in and out when I’m bored or when something interesting appears to be happening and I probably stumble on most of my news that way. On my way to work I listen to podcasts from the UK like In Our Time. I glance at The Guardian every day, read MacRumours compulsively because I find Apple fascinating, and spend a lot of time on iO9 to satisfy my nerd needs.

How do you learn?

The short answer is I learn too slowly. It’s mostly pretty directed – I like collecting new skills, but I mostly collect them because I have something I want to do with them.

I started off planning to be a humanities academic before I discovered the web and when I had discovered it—like many people of my generation—I sort of had to do everything. I had to get my head around the code side, the design side and what would now be called the ‘product’ side. I spent a lot of time writing for the web, designing sites, building them, and while I’ve had to specialize a lot over the years, I try really hard to be able to talk intelligently to designers, engineers, business people and product people as well as critics and thinkers outside my specific area.

The greatest creative potential can come from trying to see how those things or ideas can connect to each other to make something new. That’s sort of how I understand things right now – that the more things you know, the more connections between them you can generate, and the more amazing stuff happens.

Short directed forays with specific goals into weird areas end up being really, really useful.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I genuinely believe that you pick up weird mental or creative strategies throughout your life, and that a widely read person who is keen to employ some of what they learn will always do more interesting work than someone who is super deep in only one or two areas. Non-tech specific areas that give me some perspective or inspiration include history, literature, graphic design, as well as fantastic TV shows, books and comics. I mentioned In Our Time earlier, but I can’t recommend it enough – forty five minutes each week of a completely different subject, from the arrival of trains into Britain, or Ancient Alexandrian Librarians all the way through to Dark Matter.

The truth is that you never really know what might trigger an idea for you, so exposing yourself to a lot of different things is probably the best strategy.

Any advice for someone who wants to do what you do?

Play a lot, explore lots of things, sketch lots of ideas, learn weird bits of software that interest you and do something with them. Try and work out what it is that you actually enjoy doing, and then to do more of it. If you can find a passion that fulfills you and actually pays the bills, then you’re incredibly lucky. Not everyone gets to find that in their lives. Don’t hold back, jump right in and do as much as you can.

I’m always on the lookout for creative and innovative people doing incredible things. If this is you or someone you know, give me a shout on Twitter (@kaviguppta).

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into b ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Sel ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in compens ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industr ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

8 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 million. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Daman ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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