When you imagine high-powered CEOs starting their morning, you probably picture them kicking back with a copy of The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times to get a handle on the day's news.
But you'd be wrong.
Quartz recently surveyed 940 top-tier executives, and found that 60 percent of them stay informed by reading email newsletters, compared to just 28 percent using news apps and 3 percent reading physical newspapers.
Between conventional news organizations, industry-specific sites, and blogs, there's more content than ever being created every day. Finding the news coverage you need is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The beauty of email newsletters is that they scour the Web, assemble the very best content from all these disparate sources, and deliver it right to your inbox.
But you can't just sign up for every newsletter that looks decent. You need to be selective and find a combination of newsletters that look at the news from different angles that give you a complete view of what's going on. Here are five of the best newsletters in the tech world--each offering a different perspective and a unique recipe of news, analysis, and strategic insight.
1. Hiten Shah's SaaS Weekly
Not many people in SaaS (software as a service) keep busier than Hiten Shah. He's co-founded more than seven companies in the last 12 years. Two of them--Web analytics providers Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg--pull in millions a year.
With that resume, it's no surprise that the biggest names in tech count Hiten's newsletter, SaaS Weekly, as a must-read. For example, a quick look at his post announcing the newsletter shows that Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover was an immediate subscriber.
Every Monday, SaaS Weekly hits subscribers with the deepest analysis and most cutting-edge news from the SaaS industry. SaaS is always changing, and yesterday's news quickly becomes today's trash. But Hiten is out there in the thick of it every single day, speaking at conferences, working with the experts, and keeping his ear to the ground for the latest trends. Plus, as a founder and CEO, he knows enough to cover it all--product, growth, sales, and everything in between.
2. Jimmy Daly's The Swipe File
Jimmy Daly is an expert when it comes to crafting high-quality content that brings in the traffic. While serving as head of content marketing for email marketing platform Vero, he grew the company's blog to over 100,000 monthly readers.
His newsletter, The Swipe File, is geared mostly toward fellow marketers, but offers creative inspiration and productivity advice that can help anyone work better--there's a huge range of lessons.
One day, Jimmy will link you to one of the Web's most comprehensive list of SEO tools for marketers. Another, he'll let you in on a super useful tactic for signing PDFs electronically. And sometimes, he'll hit you with some general life advice on why you always need to pick up new skills and "be a rookie at something." The newsletter offers an eclectic mix of tips with one common denominator: It's always useful.
3. Ben Thompson's Stratechery
Ben Thompson previously worked in marketing and strategy at blue-chip tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Automattic. But now, his primary gig is running the Stratechery Daily Update. Full disclosure: Some of his site's content is free, but you'll have to pony up $10 a month to subscribe to the newsletter--this is Ben's full-time job--but it's more than worth it.
Stratechery's daily updates are long-form deep dives into the most important news in tech. What really separates Stratechery from the rest of the pack is Thompson's willingness to stake a bold opinion on the topics he writes about, backed up by data, logic, and an understanding of the wider industry.
For example, a post this week discussed Facebook's impressive earnings report. Anyone can tell you that Facebook is killing it, but by analyzing the data--for example, the fact that over 40 million small-to-medium businesses have a mobile-enabled Facebook page--Thompson makes a convincing case that Facebook is set to replace television as a dominant marketing force. He writes with authority, and provides big insights backed up by years of experience.
4. Mattermark Daily
In addition to its "Bloomberg for startups" product offering, Mattermark also curates one of the best, most popular newsletters in tech. Over 80,000 people subscribe--everyone from investors to founders to rank and file engineers start their mornings with Mattermark Daily.
Each edition has two sections. The "From the Investors" section lists the day's best articles from the VC world, which tend to focus on industry trends and advice on what investors are looking for. The "From the Operators" section contains articles written by people at startups--those articles focus more on day-to-day management and strategy.
Mattermark is great for anyone in the startup world because of its dual-pronged approach. Readers can cherry-pick insights from a macro, investor-focused level, or get actionable advice right from the startup trenches.
5. First Round Review
First Round Capital is a venture capital firm that touts its focus on enabling success for the startups it invests in. Evidently, they're doing something right--First Round has invested in the likes of Uber, Warby Parker, and Hotel Tonight. It's safe to say they know a thing or two about running a startup.
Its newsletter, First Round Review, takes a similar approach, and sends its subscribers content based on interviews with startup founders or higher-ups. Rather than curate content from around the Web, First Round Review actually has these people come and write articles on their own site.
The articles are valuable because of the way they blend high-level strategy with actionable advice. For instance, check out this article on Brett Kopf, founder of Remind, a platform for teachers to communicate with students and parents. He makes a big point--startups need to be obsessed with customers to know how to serve them--and then offers actionable advice around that, explaining how he personally meets with teachers who use Remind, and even hires some of them.
Those kinds of lessons make First Round Review a must-read for anyone who works at a startup.
It's all about balance
Each of the newsletters in your rotation needs to bring something different to the table. Think about it in basketball terms--Stephen Curry's off-the-charts three-point shooting is the biggest reason the Golden State Warriors are so good, but they also need a bruiser like Draymond Green to go hard in the paint and grab rebounds. They compliment each other perfectly.
These five newsletters do the same thing. Each one has a unique perspective and area of expertise, which gives you the balanced diet of information you need to start the day.