Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Short vs. long.

My lovely wife and I had a conversation the other night. That in and of itself is not worth posting about--we have conversations at least two or three times a month, but the content of the conversation was, somewhat, extraordinary.

"I just called up the Metropolitan Opera," she announced. "Siegfried (part of Wagner's "Ring Cycle") starts at 6 and isn't over until 11:30."

We were going to Siegfried on Thursday, and the news of its length pushed me back in my chair.

"It's five and a half hours," I said, expressing incredulity. "You're kidding me."

"That's right," she said, "Seriously."

A five and a half hour opera got me thinking. So much of what we read, hear and say in the modern world is uttered under the imprecations to "keep it short. Make it fast. Cut it down." Content, which we're told on one hand, is "king" but most people would assert that content's a king with a short reign.

The other day the Ad Contrarian had a seminal post that linked to a paper 20 or so pages long. It was a paper that shakes to the rafters the dominant complacency of so much of our business. It's fully sourced, footnoted and researched.

A week before that IBM published and allowed you to download for free a survey of 1,700 CMOs called "From Stretched to Strengthened." It's an incisive look at the problems facing our clients--the things that threaten their survival. And it's compiled by one of the world's smartest companies.

In the past two week's two new translations of Homer's "Odyssey" have been published. They're each a good week's reading for Evelyn Wood.

None of this content is weak. Sound-biteable. "Easy to read" or digest.

The vast majority have come to equate short with valuable.

That's true neither in penises nor ideas.

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