Let me try to get from the Steve Gillmor‘s Gang to the big picture really quick. Although Steve says that it was not Jason Calacanis‘ fault that a certain episode failed, it goes back to Jason taking that episode hostage by interrupting it at his own pace, trying to force Gillmor to either publish the podcast more quickly or let Jason handle editing and distribution. The episode failed because Steve was no longer able to moderate the conversation – something he is a master of an which makes the Gang what it is.
Now, after a week of a new and additional show NewsGang and a Jason-less The Gang the content is back to the usual high-standard (not that episode XI was not good) the dilemma has been shifted to attention. All of a sudden Gillmor has quintupled his weekly output forcing his listeners to make decisions about their time.
24 hours in a day, no way to buy an additional 8 hrs from Google yet. Content is being published more quickly (best example tumblr – two months from now the Gang will talk about it being acquired), consumed more efficiently (Google Reader, esp. with the shared feeds), and mechanisms that help me find what is supposedly relevant (Techmeme, NewsGang) get a lot of traction. The same goes for audio and video content, but for me they are not as time-pressed.
The overload of content has to find the recipient, both in an sender<->receiver relationship and a time/interest-relationship, the latter one being quite a pickle for producers of long-formats or bulk-contents. It might make more sense to consume 10 short blog posts than 1 long one. I might be more sensible to listen to 3 10-minute episodes of different shows than 1 30-minute show. Example: I like watching the Scoble Show, but it was simple too many too long episodes. Sure, it is my choice. But it also a choice that I will make, costing a producer a viewer.
Coming back to The Gang, production speed is not really the issue, most people who listen to podcasts have a variety to choose from anyway. And it is not about the episodes being cut into pieces. For some non-tech-savy people this might actually be great, they don’t have to fastforward through one file to get to the point where they last stopped listening. The issue is a that the conversation needs to be worthwhile enough so that listeners spend their time with it. And make active decisions about re-allocating their most precious resource, time, when the producer changes his distribution mechanisms. Unfortunately, many pages and hours of great content will end up un-consumed.
//The Gang serves as example here, I could be talking about Lost, American Idol or The A-Team just as well.//