I spend a lot of time writing my books. For Non-Obvious Megatrends, my team of editors and I went through fourteen rounds of editing and obsessed over every word in every section to share the insights as succinctly as possible without losing the nuance of all the research we had amassed from ten years of collecting trend insights. Despite all that effort, I know that the vast majority of people who bought the book will only ever skim it or read part of it.
While I always hope they read more, I know as a creator that no matter how much time and passion I put into creating exactly the experience I want someone to have, when the book is finally in their hands — the experience of how they consume it is their choice.
This week, Netflix finally rolled out a feature that most filmmakers and many actors have long resisted and openly campaigned against. Now on your mobile device or tablet, you can watch shows at 1.5x or 2.0x the original speed. It’s easy to understand why creators would hate this. Of course they want people to watch what they produced at the “right” speed. But this is going to be a losing battle.
Netflix is giving people the control they want and also solving the widely discussed problem of having too much good content available at our fingertips. I think giving control to the watcher is a good call. And ultimately it may give rise to cultural movements similar to the slow food revolution, where people take pleasure in the intentional slowing down of some experiences so they can savor them, while speeding up others to spend less time watching without feeling the experience is diminished at all.