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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

I’m in a strange pinch. I’ve got two opposing writing opportunities.

On one hand a regular newspaper article in the National Post that is supposed to be “punchy, witty and 100 words”.

One the other hand, an offer to write a manifesto for Change This. When describing their format, Change This write, “Television demands a sound bite. A one hundred word letter to the editor is a long one … The short form that works so well attracts more readers than the long form … The bet? We’re betting that a significant portion of the population wants to hear thoughtful, rational, communicative arguments about important issues.”

The National Post has all the right incentives to answer the question, “What do people want to read?” I would expect them to have answered this long ago. For Change This to win the bet, the National Post’s editor must be receiving short notes asking for long articles. But I bet they’re not.

Lost in the Change This description of sound bites, brief letters, and short forms is the link to thoughtful, rational, and communicative arguments. They left it sounding like long is best. George Bernard Shaw wrote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Hidden in the short and long comparison is the key – time!

We’ve got arguments for quality, thoughtfulness, Love Marks and Mark Loves. What about a Time Bank? Instead of making time savers, be time investors. Why not? In a world of insanely busy schedules and ludicrous salaries, a minute is arguably more precious that many, many dollars.

Percent who feel rushed everyday.
We're all rushed.
We hire people to handle our cash investments. There should be a market for handling time.

For an estimate of the magnitude of the market size, consider the amount spent annually on leisure. Koreans alone spent a total of $91 million on leisure activities in 2001, accounting for 15 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Viewed from the Time Bank perspective, it’s also a measure of value for time spent enjoyably.

What about setting time limits instead of word limits? This is a 20-minute piece, I was in a hurry and grabbed some easy stats. You should see the nine-hour piece! Incidentally, both are around 350 words long.

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