Brad Feld

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How I Use The Gist Dashboard View

Nov 17, 2009
Category Investments

I’m in NY all week with a jam packed schedule so I thought it would be a good week to talk a little about how I use Gist since I’ll use it every day to help me deal with a shortened daily information routine.  As you probably know, we are investors in Gist and I’m on the board so – while this is fanboy stuff – there are also a few other goals of this post including (a) helping you understand the promise of Gist, (b) enticing you to give it a try, and (c) eliciting feedback from those of you that have given it a try and want more / better / different (e.g. feedback of any kind is good).

I’m going to start with the Dashboard View.  This is the one from yesterday (I grabbed a screen shot before I left for the airport) – I was intending to write this on the plane but my superpower kicked in and I slept most of the way.


In the left hand column you can see the people that I have news on.  If you know my world, you’ll recognize a lot of those names.  They are the people that I have “at least some email contact with.”  If you squint, you can see that I’ve set “Importance” to at least 50 – I find this is the right threshold for me.  I then sort this column by “Name” as my brain likes alphabetical order instead of "most recent” order.  I set the time frame to “Last 48 hours” – that catches things if I don’t check at exactly the same time every day.  Finally, I turn off “tweets” in the dashboard as I find them too noisy.

I then work my way systematically down the list.  I start at the top, scan the center column to see if want to read anything on that person, click on any URL to expand, and then click the check mark to the right of the person’s name when done (to mark “as read” – at which point that person disappears from the dashboard view).  Gist automatically highlights the next name and I repeat.

I usually have between 25 and 50 names in the list – sometimes it gets as high as 100.  I find that this dashboard view gets almost all of the daily news I care about with regard to people I know.  It occasionally misses something – usually a person I care about that doesn’t fit about the “50 importance” threshold so I can quickly and easily change that.  But, for a first pass through what’s going on, this is a super efficient way to start the day.  Max time spent per day – 15 minutes (usually less).

It took me about two weeks of running Gist to get this Dashboard tuned just right.  Whenever someone would pop up that I didn’t care about, I’d click the universal sign for “no more of that” (the big red circle with the line through it – “Stop watching for new items”).  Once I got used to the tuning rhythm, it was trivial to deal with.

If you have Gist installed, give the Dashboard another try and give me feedback on what would make it easier to get up and running with it and using it every day.  If you don’t have Gist running, give it a try. 

Fanboy out – time for a run down Park Avenue – wave at me if you see me (no, not that Wave).