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The Bandwith Sync Correlation that’s Worth Thinking About

Seth Godin charts the “quality” and impact of different types of media. This is what he says we can learn from this:

  1. There’s a huge correlation between how much interaction there is and how powerful a medium is (at least among successful media). Telephones changed the world because the interaction is so real. As you get more interactive, though, you exchange less dense media. You can’t have a real time conversation online that carries the digital impact of a movie or some other high bandwidth entertainment.
  2. The bottom left corner is the scrap heap. It’s hard to place a commercial value on this part of the grid and there’s not a lot of commercially interesting work being done here. People just aren’t interested in low bandwidth, non-interactive media. Graffiti, for example, rarely draws a paying crowd.
  3. The top right of the corner is where huge value and difficult sales lie. Not everyone can pay for the scarce resources needed to deliver an in-person seminar or one on one coaching, but those that need and can afford it, love it.

He states that the vertical line of “low/high bandwidth” is to chart the quality of the medium “in terms of density of information exchanged”, so don’t pull your hair out thinking that a PDF is higher in “quality” than art, because I’m sure that’s not what he means, though his view of media is strictly utilitarian. That’s why “One on One Coaching” is included there.