Quarantine Chronicles: What to Read, Watch and Listen to While Distancing
The coronavirus pandemic has made millions of people turn to remote work. Social distancing may be an effective measure to stop the virus spread but it also leaves us wondering how to spend the extra free time.
We’ve asked our colleagues to share educational content that helps them stay sane during the crisis. Check out the list for the best books, podcasts, online courses, and media to keep you in the loop on what’s going on in the world and the adtech industry.
Nina Bohush, Global PR Manager
These quarantine days remind me of times when I was a kid. The only difference today is that I have to spend 8 hours working from home instead of diving into movies and books. However, the remote work saves me at least two hours per day, and I’m going to spend them wisely.
First, I will finally read all those articles which I used to save for ‘later’. You probably know that ‘later’ never happens. In these days of self-isolation, I’m going to curl up on the couch and enjoy reading my favorite online media.
ExchangeWire publishes interesting opinion-pieces from the industry thought-leaders, while The Drum journos always keep their fingers on what’s happening in digital advertising today. I also adore Adsider for their style of writing, always with a hint of irony.
Here are the worthy recent pieces:
- The Era of Digital Integrity: From Data-Driven to Choice-First Advertising (ExchangeWire)
- Claire Valoti, Bob Lord, Gary Vaynerchuck & more on the new skills marketers now need (The Drum)
- The future of Ukrainian advertising, the death of cookies, and the black box of programmatic (Adsider)
I recommend these three: The MadTech Podcast, Talking Stack, and Growth Marketing Toolbox. These podcasts present the latest news stories, the brightest minds, and the best tools in martech and adtech industries.
Courses and Webinars
I’ve already signed up for a Spanish language course and for a free Digital Transformation Festival from The Drum media (March 16 ‒ April 30).
I’ll try to do more things that will take my mind off the current affairs. I’ll definitely spend time yogging, reading horoscopes, watching YouTube food blogs, and meditating.
These are my recommendations. Ask me if I did anything from the list above in a few weeks!
Ivan Fedorov, New Business Director
However gloomy the situation may seem, we can all use it to our advantage. Use the extra time to develop yourself and finish things that you’ve been putting off for a long time.
With extra time provided by the absence of daily commute, I will finally be able to listen to new episodes of my favorite podcasts and videos from the adtech media.
AdExchanger Talks is a series of insightful interviews of martech and adtech leaders who have practical advice on digital transformation and future of the industry.
The Big Story is a weekly discussion of the main newsworthy events that are shaping the adtech.
Behind the Numbers is a place where eMarketer analysts share and discuss the insights they’ve got while working on reports on markets, industries, and trends.
The MadTech Podcast is a weekly coverup of the latest news of adtech. The editors invite a new industry thought-leader every week.
TraderTalk TV is one of the greatest video libraries in adtech, providing both educational content from the leading adtech experts and panel discussions of the current challenges in the industry.
Hanna Yatel, CMO
I’m planning to spend more time on podcasts. What makes them good is the straightforwardness of speakers.
Unlike conferences, where everyone shares their cases and experiments, podcasts are more intimate. Plus, they help fight the anxiety: if someone faced the same problems, they might have already found a way out or at least figured out which options don’t work.
How to listen to podcasts
I have been listening to podcasts for five years so I have already accumulated my own best practices:
- I use Overcast for listening. This is the best app for podcast lovers.
- If I’m not distracted, I listen to podcasts at 1.5 speed.
- I try not to answer my phone while listening. This way I can finish a 2-hour podcast even at the end of Q3 when everything is on fire.
I won’t list self-evident podcasts, like a16z, 99% invisible, Intercom Show or Masters of Scale. If you haven’t listened to them, please do. You’ll be able to stand out at 99% of small talks at any adtech or martech networking event (whenever the next one happens).
Instead, I’d recommend something less predictable:
If you miss people, turn on Bob Sutton’s podcast. While it is inevitable that businesses (especially large ones) are going to evolve, I recommend listening to top managers and founders so as not to repeat their mistakes.
Especially this episode on micromanagement. Stress at work is one of the top 5 causes of death in the United States. A Stanford professor who studies organizational behavior says he would rather sit in a smoky room than next to a micromanager. Chances are he will live longer this way.
Claire Lew, CEO at Know Your Team, the platform for 1:1 meetings, makes a great podcast on how to work with the team. She argues that respect and trust is the true key to success. In her podcast, she constantly recalls that the leader has much more information than any other member of the team. It is important to share this information and remember that your team members are not telepaths. Yet, we constantly forget about it.
Start with this episode where Wade Foster, CEO at Zapier, explains how by asking questions, you can help your colleague solve their problems without doing the work for them.
This is a pretty nerdy yet practical podcast on product management. I support the concept of T-shaped specialists. I believe that marketers, whether they work in a software company or in fashion retail, need to apply the best practices from startup product managers. These guys know best how to create value for the customer, and how important hypothesis validation and customer development is.
In this episode, scientist and Chief Behavioral Officer at Clover Matt Wallaert, who previously worked with Microsoft and Microsoft Ventures, explains why scientific research is, in fact, what we call the product mindset.
Yaroslav Kholod, Director of Programmatic Division
Crises and global economic turmoils occur every 10-15 years and 2020 is no exception. Except that the economic crisis comes along with a pandemic.
I believe that this shock is more than timely for humanity. It will help us reflect on our lifestyles. I’m sure that as we overcome the coronavirus outbreak and the global economic crisis, we will become stronger, wiser and more empathetic.
I’d recommend Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The book helps to think of the current trends in society and the catastrophic impact of populism.
Mariia Kudinova, Product Marketing Manager
The pandemic and quarantine have caught most of us off guard, especially in the face of the economic crisis. I believe that staying at home, except in an emergency, and avoiding overcrowded places is our duty as conscious citizens. This way we a) won’t put the people prone to complications at risk, and b) will ease the burden on the medical system.
Remote work gives you extra 3 hours a day, or 15 hours a week (getting ready and commuting), so your only priority is to spend them wisely.
Think about your mental health first. Refrain from reading the depressive stuff on Facebook and find only answers to specific questions.
I also recommend getting acquainted with psychology and philosophy theories to better understand yourself and the world.
Start with Massimo Pigliucci’s “How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life”. The author explains why we should once again turn to ancient Stoicism and how it can help us today. The book is easy to understand so it’ll be interesting even to those who have never been fans of philosophy.
It is important to support small businesses and experts who have found themselves in a very difficult situation due to quarantine.
I recommend investing your time in Coursera and edX. There are a plethora of courses for any taste from biophysics to arts. Plus, a lot of them are provided by the leading professors from Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Stanford.
If you’re more of a tech guy, check out Codecademy to learn programming through interactive exercises.
I try not to change my usual schedule. The only difference now is that most of the things moved online, including philosophical lectures, yoga, and even bicycle training.
It is important to keep in touch with people. So, besides Hangout calls with colleagues, I have already had an online party with friends. I’ve also heard that someone launched an online bar, someone sings karaoke and watches gigs online, someone even organizes free online marathons in their specialization.
Finally, the Wiener Staatsoper opened access to its plays online.
Stanislav Shyshkin, Head of Content
When the quarantine was set in place, I went through all the 5 stages of grief (which was quite selfish I guess). Now, I realize it’s for the better – ultimately, it will save lives, a goal that’s worth the candle.
Besides, it might be the best opportunity to devote more time to yourself and reflect on what’s been bothering you for a long time. You don’t have to stay alone all the time though – set up a group video call with your friends or watch and comment on your favorite Netflix show online.
As for the extra free time, well, there’s finally a way to spend those Friday evenings wisely. I’ve selected a few online courses and media that will keep me entertained in the next couple of weeks (at least).
The guys from Hubspot are real gurus of inbound and content marketing, so definitely check the relevant courses. They know what they’re saying. I’d also recommend the sales enablement course if you’re willing to align marketing and sales goals and keep both depts accountable. By the way, they are completely free and you get a shareable diploma at the end.
Udemy has a ton of content from practitioners in different fields. Check it out if you are planning to broaden the horizons and pick up new skills (or get hands-on recommendations on topics you specialize in).
Ahrefs was one of the first blogs I subscribed to and they never disappointed. Instead of posting hundreds of articles every week, they work hard on every piece, providing real-life cases and go-to recommendations. In addition, they are experts in SEO, which makes this course a must for any business willing to bolster its content strategy.
When it comes to adtech media, I love Adsider for their unbiased approach to news (and a minimalist website, to be frank). I also enjoy how Digiday manages to stay in the zeitgeist by mixing serious industry materials and cultural phenomena we’re all part of.
Don’t get too immersed in the news and current state of affairs. Exercise and spend time on what’s bringing you joy. It’s not the end of the world and we’ll get over it, stronger.