Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.
-Tom Peters (business management consultant)
The current tide of content is only increasing. Along with our 200-channel cable packages and streaming services, we have online access to a functionally limitless array of foreign content, sports, and independent work. We can only take in a sliver of what is available to us.
Even among my close friends, we have almost no content in common. We can each keep up with 5-10 TV shows, but the specialising of streams means we are choosing them from all over the world. In our finite hours, we curate our content and almost fear finding something new to try to jam in.
Recommending something to a friend now feels like an imposition instead of sharing joy.
This then leads me to be very confused when someone tells me they spent hours watching a show that they later review as “it was ok.” In this tsunami of input, “ok” is a failing grade.
When it comes to content, I follow the old Silicon Valley cliche and “fail fast.”
Here’s a secret of mass media – books, TV, movies, comics, etc. They are all crafted with a “hook.” The opening gambit that catches your attention and has you wondering what comes next. In a novel this is the opening pages and first chapter. It’s the pilot of a TV show, the opening scenes of a film, and so on.
This is simply the way the works are created today, for good or ill. The upside is that you can use this to your advantage. If you are 2 episodes into a show and it isn’t connecting, you can bail. Perhaps check in at the top of the next season as they’ll apply this “hook” again then.
On sick days, I park myself at the TV and start going through the streaming queue. It is very common for me to watch 10 minutes of a half dozen films before settling on investing 90-150 minutes on one.
Think of it like the Costco sample stop of content.