The Pitfalls of Consuming News and the Metrics that Drive Startup Success


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 27, 2023

4 min read


The Pitfalls of Consuming News and the Metrics that Drive Startup Success


In today's fast-paced world, we are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information. The news industry has evolved rapidly, leading to an increase in the speed of news delivery and a significant drop in production costs. However, these changes have come with their own set of challenges. Meanwhile, startup success relies heavily on metrics such as engagement, content creation, and network density. In this article, we will explore the drawbacks of consuming news and the key metrics that drive startup growth.

The Downsides of Consuming News:

When we constantly consume news, we subject ourselves to a plethora of surface-level opinions on isolated topics. This flood of information can be overwhelming and does not necessarily contribute to living a good life or making better decisions. Additionally, news producers have a vested interest in keeping us hooked, leading to a misalignment of incentives. When the news is free, advertisers become the driving force, prioritizing page views over quality content. Consequently, we are left with an excess of information that consumes our attention without offering much value.

The Illusion of Being Well-Informed:

One surprising revelation that comes from abstaining from news consumption is the realization of how misinformed those who regularly consume news are. Often, they cherry-pick information and give it disproportionate weight in their opinions. Furthermore, refraining from news consumption highlights our own lack of true understanding. Merely consuming news does not make our opinions more rational; instead, it inflates our confidence in our own correctness. It becomes apparent that much of our thinking is influenced by external sources.

Shifting Focus to Thinking and Quality Information Sources:

To overcome the pitfalls of news consumption, it is crucial to spend less time consuming and more time thinking. Deep, meaningful connections and informed decision-making require a shift in our information sources. By seeking out reliable, insightful content instead of mindlessly consuming news, we can cultivate a more informed worldview and develop a greater understanding of the world around us. Choosing how to spend our free time wisely becomes a critical factor in enhancing our quality of life.

Metrics Driving Startup Success:

While news consumption may hinder our growth, startups thrive on well-defined metrics. One key aspect is the engagement loop, which relies on social feedback to create a continuous cycle of user interaction. Easy content creation and network density are essential components of this loop. Without a seamless content creation process, marketing-driven one-off campaigns become ineffective and can lead to user churn. Startups like Pinterest have successfully optimized content creation to foster engagement and growth.

Building a Strong Social Graph:

The density of connections within a network is another crucial metric for startup success. It is essential to build a relevant and interconnected network, as there are diminishing returns on sheer quantity alone. Bootstrapping on an existing network and implementing features like "Find Friends" and "People You May Know" can significantly increase network density. However, red flags arise when explosive viral growth is solely based on inviting, as it often results in low-quality signups. Similarly, a lack of meaningful core activities undermines the effectiveness of a network.

The Power of Acquisition and Viral Loops:

Understanding acquisition loops is vital for startups to scale successfully. Analyzing how each cohort of new users leads to the acquisition of more users allows for sustainable growth. On the other hand, viral loops offer scalability, cost-efficiency, and organic growth. By encouraging users to share a product with their friends or colleagues, startups can create a self-sustaining loop. However, caution must be exercised when new users are acquired from channels that provide low-quality leads.


In a world saturated with information, it is crucial to be mindful of how we allocate our attention. News consumption often yields little benefit and can even lead to misinformation and biased opinions. On the other hand, startups can leverage metrics such as engagement, content creation, and network density to drive growth and success. To navigate this landscape effectively, it is essential to prioritize quality information sources, spend time thinking critically, and build strong, relevant networks. By doing so, we can make more informed decisions, foster meaningful connections, and ultimately lead more fulfilling lives.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Limit your news consumption and focus on quality information sources that provide valuable insights and understanding.
  • 2. Dedicate regular time to thinking and reflection, allowing yourself to process information and develop well-formed opinions.
  • 3. Prioritize building a strong social graph by fostering relevant and meaningful connections within your network, rather than simply pursuing quantity.

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