Marshall Kirkpatrick rose to prominence in the tech industry as lead writer and VP of Content Development at ReadWrite, and before that, as the first writer TechCrunch ever hired. After years covering the tech world's hottest startups, he left in 2012 to launch his own, Little Bird, where he is CEO. Marshall is an expert who will speak at INBOUND on influencer marketing and measuring topical influence via social media sharing and engagement patterns. Here, learn how he manages to stay on top of masses of critical information while running a startup.


What is your #1 source for staying on top of your world?

I keep an eye on desktop push notifications from a Slack channel displaying the Techmeme RSS feed.  

I also rely heavily on my own company, Little Bird, and our filtering technology. It’s a people-first news highlight tracker, among other things. I track hot developments among the most influential people in key markets, top customer communities, competitors and among my leading market influencers through our Hot News filtering feature.  It uses 5 layers of social proof to filter out all but the most important developments among leaders in any field you’re interested in.

I usually initiate research on my desktop but then use Little Bird’s mobile web app to track news in my topics of interest

When and what do you read online?

I scan news and content highlights across industries of interest once in the morning, at lunch, after work, after dinner and before bed.  I get a few thousand push notifications every day.

I also try to read 5 tweets from other people every time I post one tweet myself.

What is your favorite place on the web?

According to the time-tracker at RescueTime, I spend most of my time on my company’s website, Gmail, GCal and TwitterI’ve also really taken to enjoying and Google Scholar.

Which people or feeds or blogs do you follow?

Who is someone undiscovered that we should be reading?

He’s technical enough that it’s a stretch for me, but I really enjoy watching my friend Antony Falco online. He’s the CEO of cloud database service, he often blogs and he’s a good Tweeter.  

What is your biggest pet peeve about content? 

Headlines that promise and articles that don’t deliver really bug me. Content that asks no critical questions. Lists without meaningful context. I’m ready for the content marketing quality arms race. I want better things to read! 

What is the most memorable piece of content of all time?

I’ve created a couple of pieces I’ll never forget.  I really liked this video I’m mostly either hustling or awash in incredible things to learn from all the time, so it’s hard to recall particular examples.

How would you rank your favorite social apps?


If content types were stocks, which ones would you buy, which would you sell, and which would you hold?

BUY: videos and blog posts

HOLD: infographics, podcasts, newsletters, slide decks, e-books/whitepapers

SELL: books 

What haven't we asked you that you'd like to talk about?

I’d like you to have asked what my strategy for discovering great content is.  It is to think up the best way to discover the best sources, to oversubscribe, then filter, to be interrupted and to make fast judgements about the value of content to return to in depth.

Don't miss Marshall Kirkpatrick, Malcolm Gladwell, Martha Stewart, Simon Sinek and a whole roster of incredible speakers coming to Boston September 15-18 for INBOUND 2014.  



Originally published Aug 28, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2023