Explanations Lower the Cost of Figuring Something Out


Recently Jay Rosen published a fascinating article on his PressThink blog that focuses on politics and how the parties have learned to exploit an “electoral blind spot”.  As Rosen puts it:

The blind spot is the point at which voters stop paying attention because the costs of figuring out what’s really going on are too high. 

It’s a fascinating article, and I really love this idea of “costs of figuring something out”. The article is about politics and the press, but I think the idea applies to many other subjects.

Think about Twitter or QR codes or almost any innovation.  In the beginning, the costs to figuring the subject out are high. It takes valuable time to do research, to find the right tools, to be informed enough to have an educated opinion.  It’s a barrier that creates a blind spot for the mainstream, who simply can’t justify the costs.

The geeks and early adopters are motivated and they get over the barrier easily. While they understand these new ideas, they are not often well equipped to make them understandable for others.  The blind spot remains.

The question becomes - how do we fill these blind spots?  How do we get the mainstream, your mom, your teacher, your boss, over that barrier? 

My answer, to use Rosen's words, is that we lower the cost of figuring something out.  How? My answer is to focus on explanations - create packages of ideas that are designed to fill the blind spot and help people say “Oh, I get it now!”

While explanations can come in many forms, we’re oriented around video explanations. We do the research, so you don’t have to. It’s all about providing information to fill the blind spot and help people feel informed enough to have an opinion and care enough to want to learn more. That’s where the magic really begins.