Crash Report

7 Startup Employees on the Content They’re Consuming

Morgan Von Gunten
June 2019

Because season one of Career Crashers is over, we thought it’d be fun to highlight some of the content our team’s consuming right now.

And since everyone on the internet knows great leaders read two thousand books every morning, we decided we’d try to show how hip we are by highlighting the best ones.

(Just kidding.)

I asked the team what they’re reading, listening to, thinking about, or learning outside of work this week. Here’s what they said.


Reading the new book Unschooled by Kerry McDonald. It’s got lots of great stuff on the plethora of educational processes emerging as more people tailor education to their kids.

Read this great Tweet storm summary article on making a moat around your career, got me thinking about the value of deep skill vs. generalized ability, as I’m very much a generalist who’s not great at very many things!

Also the A16Z report on the podcasting industry. Now I’m thinking about the future and how audio content can escape its silo and be more shareable and searchable.


I’ve been following all of The Athletic’s coverage of the Warriors playoff run. It’s been incredible to dive deep into this team as they go for their fourth title in five years. Lots of great examples and inspiration from their resiliency, persistence, leadership, and team building.


I’m obsessed lately with diving deep into copywriting, storytelling, and ads to answer the question of, “What makes people respond to content?”

Where I’ve started:

  • Subscribed to a dozen or so newsletters from copywriters and writers with a decent following
  • Looked at how they approach their topic–what subject lines, ledes, types of writing (was it straight prose, a story, a question?)
  • Asked, “What devices do they use to get attention? (Graphics, images, video, word pictures, etc.)
  • Looked into how they’re structuring their content (sentence length, sentence structure. Did they follow rules? What’s their content length?)
  • Asked, “How do they present their offers? Where do they put their calls-to-action? What kinds of asks do they make?”

Some of the things I’ve been reading:

Newsletters I’ve been enjoying/studying/recently subscribed to:

  • Noah Goldman
  • David Cancel
  • David Perrell
  • Patrick Thomas
  • Kaleigh Moore
  • Jono Hey (sketchplantation)
  • Tom Fishburne (Marketoonist)
  • Pocket’s daily newsletter
  • And more…

I’m also taking a mental log of brands and ads in everyday life–on the street, on social, online–to see what catches my attention, what works, and why?


I’ve been paddling through George Dyson’s works. I’m fascinated with him because he has two very particular interests that have significant overlap with my own: building kayaks and the history of technology and AI. I just finished building my own kayak, and I actually bought the material for the skin from George Dyson!

Some things I’m consuming right now:


Listening to Shoe Dog and The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Shoe Dog is an interesting window into building a company at a different point in history. Some aspects were enormously more difficult, but other aspects seem much easier. The contrast helps put perspective on the challenges we’re facing today. Just started Hard Things, so not much to say just yet!


I’ve been reading all of the #EmberJS2019 blog posts (also slowly aggregated here) to see where people want to see Ember go in the next year. This will inform my decisions for opensource work, to help move some of those ideas forward.


I’m learning a lot from Dave Gerhardt and David Cancel at Drift about using “their words” in marketing copy. So I started my own “Their Words” spreadsheet to learn how to frame our marketing copy in words our users use.

I also just recently learned how to play a few notes on the mandolin (because I’m obsessed with this song).

I hope this encourages you to go out and learn or read or listen to something new! If you’ve got any questions for us, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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