Interesting Concept: Time Dilation

I loved the Time Dilation blog post by Seth Godin. It explains so much, including why I won’t accept a “quick conf call to touch base and hash out ideas” from someone coming out of the blue sky – why should I be interested if they can’t invest the time to organize their thoughts and pour them into an email.

The concept of “creation-to-consumption” ratio is also interesting. Now I understand why I hate unedited opinionated chinwagging (many podcasts sadly fall into this category) or videos where someone blabbers into a camera while visibly trying to organize their thoughts.

Just FYI, these are some of the typical ratios I had to deal in the past:

  • Edited podcast: 3:1 to 5:1, depending on how much time you put into preparation. Editing also cuts down the length of the chat by 10-20%.
  • Presentations or videos using slide decks: around 8:1 to 10:1 just to create the content (research is extra). Another 10:1 to deliver, edit, review, and publish. Good editing is a huge time sink, but it can reduce the presentation time by up to 30%, resulting in even higher ratio.
  • Writing blog posts: never measured it, but consider it takes me around an hour to write a decent blog post, probably around 10:1 (depending on how fast you read ;).
  • Slide decks with student notes: We used 30:1 when developing course materials – around 30 developer days are spent developing a single day of training materials, assuming training includes labs. Lecture-only training takes even more time to develop.
  • Writing books: Even more than 30:1, considering the fact that most of us read faster than talk – another source of annoyance when I have to listen to videos which add no value beyond someone talking about things that would be better put in writing.

Disagree? If you happen to have real-life experience creating/producing any of the above (see also: RFC 1925 rule 4), please leave a comment.


  1. I love this post, and just wanted to comment a couple of things:

    • Many "Flipped classroom" proposers suggest the use of video lectures for individual student work at home, while in-person time in the class devotes to active work. I have seen "gurus" suggesting that the FC teacher should record videos "live" (e.g. simple screen capturing) without any editing, because otherwise he will spend too much time creating the videos and the overhead will be unaffordable. You opened my eyes to the specific problem: they are passing their overheads to the listeners. More and more frequent nowadays.

    • Although some concepts are better explained in a video, "most of us read faster than talk", together with the fact that you can easily skim a text but not a video, makes books and written posts really valuable.

    1. Regarding the FC video editing: considering that the video lectures would be reused more than once, it's even more a total BS excuse covering their laziness.
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