Creating fire usually requires a spark; a sudden momentary disruptive discharge of energy that ignites anything flammable around it.  Under the right conditions, a spark can set off a chain of events leading to a raging fire. But outside of a combustible environment, sparks are relatively harmless.  They are short-lived flashes, quickly forgotten with little residual effect.

We don’t mind sparks. In fact, we tend to enjoy the occasional diversion they provide.

This is the reason why commercials are short, why brief summaries are printed on the back of books, why movie trailers are released in advance and why magazine covers highlight the articles inside. They’re sparks; brief flashes of information completely harmless and disregarded until they connect with the right audience.

But we are weary of fires.  And if they appear out of control, we avoid or extinguish them.

This is the reason why telemarketing calls are detested, why timeshare presentations are evaded, why pyramid scheme pitches are avoided and why legal documents are largely unread. They’re fires; long, invasive information dumps that burn unacceptable amounts of time and scorch the minds of the audience.

And so when it comes to disseminating information, start with a spark rather than an all-consuming fire.

Time is limited—for you and your audience. So don’t burn it up without their consent. Instead, provide a spark and if the conditions are right it will start a fire—one they can stoke, monitor and maintain to a size comfortable for them. Shortly after, they’ll come to you asking for more to feed the flames and keep it burning.

My vision for 2MinuteGenius is to produce the equivalent of intellectual sparks—short, brilliant flashes of information that ignite fires in the minds of its audience.

More to come…