Friday, May 18, 2012

The Wadsworth Constant: Ignore 30% of Everything

Lone Gunman reveals to us an interesting strategy for speech writing:

Last year Steve Yegge wrote about life at and what it’s like work­ing under Jeff Bezos. On the topic of pre­sent­ing to Bezos, Yegge gave this tip: delete every third para­graph.  Why?
Bezos is so god­damned smart that you have to turn it into a game for him or he’ll be bored and annoyed with you. That was my first real­iza­tion about him. […]
So you have to start tear­ing out whole para­graphs, or even pages, to make it inter­est­ing for him. He will fill in the gaps him­self with­out miss­ing a beat. And his brain will have less time to get annoyed with the slow pace of your brain.

Around the same time as Yegge’s post­ing, a Red­dit user known as Wadsworth pointed out that the first 30% of “nearly every video in the uni­verse” can safely be skipped. As such things go, this soon became a YouTube URL para­me­ter: just add &wadsworth=1 to skip the first third of the video.
This ‘law’ soon became known as the Wadsworth Con­stant. It works.

What does this imply for the sabha.ologist? It seems as if we could safely sleep through 30% of presentations, so the deeper meaning is that when giving a talk don't be stingy with the editors knife.

Get rid of 30% of your matter and refine the rest to make it stick.

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