Leo Challenges Podcasting Assumptions

Lots of people assume that you need to do short podcasts. After all, people’s time is valuable, right? And we’re all overloaded with too much info anyway.

But Leo asked his audience and 20,000 people responded, Phil Windley reported from a keynote Leo did today. They told him “do longer, more technical podcasts.”

Leo’s show? It’s TWiT. Length? 120 minutes.

That said, on ScobleShow you won’t find me shying away from weird length podcasts and videoblogs. Why do we need to fit into a format? If it only takes three minutes to demo a product, why take six? On the other hand, if walking through San Francisco with Thomas Hawk is interesting, even after two hours, why shorten it to 10 minutes?

Comments

  1. Good. I actually look at how much time I have available (20 minutes, 90, 13, whatever) and then look at my “reading list” to see what fits the time frame and interests me. My day doesn’t revolve around the damn minute hand, and neither should my information streams!

    Rob

  2. Good. I actually look at how much time I have available (20 minutes, 90, 13, whatever) and then look at my “reading list” to see what fits the time frame and interests me. My day doesn’t revolve around the damn minute hand, and neither should my information streams!

    Rob

  3. Actually the last part of your post, “If it only takes three minutes to demo a product, why take six?” reminds me of a story – from way back in 1994 or so – at MacWorld, SF. The company I worked for had developed a Wireless LAN adapter for the Apple Newton (and we later added GPS, CDMA, backlighting, etc), but my job was to walk around the show floor with this “Newton on Steroids” and demo it.

    That basically consisted of using a LocalTalk connected camera, clicking a very low resolution picture of someone and telling them where they could go (our booth) to pick up the print out of the photo.

    Anyway, Computer Chronicles stopped me and asked what I did, I told them, then they asked for an “on air demo”. It took me about 15 seconds to do my thing and show them some pretty amazing technology for the time… and they said, “Is that it?”. And I responded, “Yes, it makes for a crappy demo, but a damned good product. It just works. And you don’t have to think about it”.

    That’s the key to success in almost any venture – it “just works” and “you don’t have to think about it”.

    Rob

  4. Actually the last part of your post, “If it only takes three minutes to demo a product, why take six?” reminds me of a story – from way back in 1994 or so – at MacWorld, SF. The company I worked for had developed a Wireless LAN adapter for the Apple Newton (and we later added GPS, CDMA, backlighting, etc), but my job was to walk around the show floor with this “Newton on Steroids” and demo it.

    That basically consisted of using a LocalTalk connected camera, clicking a very low resolution picture of someone and telling them where they could go (our booth) to pick up the print out of the photo.

    Anyway, Computer Chronicles stopped me and asked what I did, I told them, then they asked for an “on air demo”. It took me about 15 seconds to do my thing and show them some pretty amazing technology for the time… and they said, “Is that it?”. And I responded, “Yes, it makes for a crappy demo, but a damned good product. It just works. And you don’t have to think about it”.

    That’s the key to success in almost any venture – it “just works” and “you don’t have to think about it”.

    Rob

  5. Candidates for alphageek interviews-w3c,ietf,osdl,grid.org,mit-media lab,and finally professors of computer/materials science,design,and ee. Bore us with the ugly details. Enough of the tech trends for dummies, interview the brightest of the bright who can articulate true insights and share wisdom that creates lasting memories, not disposable tidbits.

  6. Candidates for alphageek interviews-w3c,ietf,osdl,grid.org,mit-media lab,and finally professors of computer/materials science,design,and ee. Bore us with the ugly details. Enough of the tech trends for dummies, interview the brightest of the bright who can articulate true insights and share wisdom that creates lasting memories, not disposable tidbits.

  7. Robert,

    To the best of my knowledge, TWiT has never reached 120 minutes. In the early days of that podcast, I remember Leo making a point that he wanted people to be able to fit it onto a CD, because many people without mp3 players would do that and listen to it in their car.

    So if you look at the history of TWiT podcasts, most fall under 1:20, which means 80 minutes not 120.

    Scott

  8. Robert,

    To the best of my knowledge, TWiT has never reached 120 minutes. In the early days of that podcast, I remember Leo making a point that he wanted people to be able to fit it onto a CD, because many people without mp3 players would do that and listen to it in their car.

    So if you look at the history of TWiT podcasts, most fall under 1:20, which means 80 minutes not 120.

    Scott

  9. I notice you guys are still using the word “podcasts.” Proving a point that those of us who don’t hate Apple have made in several threads.

    As for podcast length, audio podcasts should be short in most cases. No more than five to ten minutes for a given topic, unless there are several substantive points to make.. I think people are willing to devote a longer attention span to video anything.

  10. I notice you guys are still using the word “podcasts.” Proving a point that those of us who don’t hate Apple have made in several threads.

    As for podcast length, audio podcasts should be short in most cases. No more than five to ten minutes for a given topic, unless there are several substantive points to make.. I think people are willing to devote a longer attention span to video anything.

  11. That’s very true. Why drag out a podcast to x2 the time that’s necessary to get the job done. If your podcast goes for 120mins then so be it, if you only have enough content to go for 10mins, then leave it 10mins.

    No podcast should have to ‘fit’ into a specific format. Depending on the type of content you have on your podcast, that should determine the length. If you have a discussion podcast (ie.TWiT) then of course it will go longer than say a daily news podcast.

  12. That’s very true. Why drag out a podcast to x2 the time that’s necessary to get the job done. If your podcast goes for 120mins then so be it, if you only have enough content to go for 10mins, then leave it 10mins.

    No podcast should have to ‘fit’ into a specific format. Depending on the type of content you have on your podcast, that should determine the length. If you have a discussion podcast (ie.TWiT) then of course it will go longer than say a daily news podcast.

  13. You can do three hours a day (sometimes four), even sans video, if you are Rush Limbaugh. But non-performer, non-media’ite techie-Exec interview’s usually tap out at about 15 minutes…now demo’s, walk-thru’s and tours can (sometimes) go on a tad longer.

    And TWIT is a narrowcast audience, the nicher, the longer you can go. Food TV can get away with an hour long program on radishes, but the big number networks can’t.

    And true, no “podcast” has to fit any format, but if you want the pod to go broad(cast), it surely does. I’d more like something News Magazine styled, forward pace, with a steady plot beat. Podcasts are too ‘film what talks and moves’, heck it will interest someone. And it does in a limited sense, but that doesn’t scale. But on the flipside, value in niche programming, as long as you treat it as such.

  14. You can do three hours a day (sometimes four), even sans video, if you are Rush Limbaugh. But non-performer, non-media’ite techie-Exec interview’s usually tap out at about 15 minutes…now demo’s, walk-thru’s and tours can (sometimes) go on a tad longer.

    And TWIT is a narrowcast audience, the nicher, the longer you can go. Food TV can get away with an hour long program on radishes, but the big number networks can’t.

    And true, no “podcast” has to fit any format, but if you want the pod to go broad(cast), it surely does. I’d more like something News Magazine styled, forward pace, with a steady plot beat. Podcasts are too ‘film what talks and moves’, heck it will interest someone. And it does in a limited sense, but that doesn’t scale. But on the flipside, value in niche programming, as long as you treat it as such.

  15. Scott: I had dinner tonight with Leo. He says their longest TWiT was 121 minutes, but usually they aim for less than 70 — mostly because AOL redistributes their shows and their workflow includes putting it on CD, which can only hold about 70 minutes of audio.

  16. Scott: I had dinner tonight with Leo. He says their longest TWiT was 121 minutes, but usually they aim for less than 70 — mostly because AOL redistributes their shows and their workflow includes putting it on CD, which can only hold about 70 minutes of audio.