Are You More Entertaining than a Sock Puppet

So my buddy Loren Feldman over at 1938 media has been having grand old time giving a parody of Shel Israel lately. While it’s all been pretty funny I think there are a few points to learn from this.

Let’s take a look at one of Loren’s videos:

Now lets look at one of Shel’s videos …

Chances are you made it all the way through Loren’s Sock Puppet but you bailed on Shel’s video … why … did you have 10 minutes of your life to sacrifice to a video that was going nowhere fast? The shorter your web video is the more successful it’s going to be, under 5 minutes OK, under 2 minutes great, under 90 seconds better, under 60 seconds BINGO! Like it or not we live in a sound bite culture, want to reach them … pander to their short attentions spans, want to talk to people still reading dead tress prattle on for 10 minutes or more. Go ahead look at all the most popular tech video podcasts on ITunes with the exception of TWIT you’ll find they are all usually less than 5 minutes.

Where it really gets bad is Shel the puppet has better guests than the real Shel, for example founder of LeWeb and Seesmic Loic Lemur

Steve Gillmor

Gabe Rivera of TechMeme

What really makes it worse is TechCrunch is now reporting the parody show with the puppet has corporate sponsor while the original is flying without a net …

The new sponsor, Zong, a Switzerland-based mobile platform company, is providing “significant funding” to sponsor the parody Shel Israel show created by Feldman.

What’s the takeaway here … don’t play in the big leagues if you don’t have what it takes to compete. Don’s use the medium to talk to an audience when you don’t understand what makes them tick and how to reach them.

So how would I tell Shel to fix his problem … #1 cut your videos down 2 minutes of good stuff is better than 2 minutes of good stuff and 8 minutes of blah. #2 Be more compelling, don’t play it safe, take some risks and ask tough questions, watching you slowball meatballs across the plate is boring. #3 Embrace the puppet, do a show or two with him, show you are a good sport and can take a joke.

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