Chris Bond: Reading from a Fire Hose

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My measure for how interesting a client’s product or service offering is comes from my wife’s reaction to hearing about it. If after listening to my description Megan asks incredulously, “That’s a thing?” I know we’re talking about something truly niche and unusual. Think back to Mary Tyler Moore’s eponymous 1970’s television show when her character dated a guy who made the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces. As incredibly helpful as those little things are, when was the last time you wondered who was responsible for manufacturing them? Well, someone has to and let’s take a moment to grateful for that. 

Surely our level of excitement over certain offerings and inventions varies. For example, I’m not that elated about what Spritz is up to. The Boston startup has developed some form of flash technology for reading. You see, we apparently waste gobs of time working our way across a page or screen and Spritz aims to fix that by eliminating the gaps. So rather than reading from left to right, meandering from word to word, if Spritz has its way you’ll be peppered with one word at a time with one letter in each being red to help you focus. Call it digital flash cards for millenials weaned on raves and Molly. And at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old bump on a log, it’s just not for me. 

Apparently, time has gotten so tight we’re no longer able to simply enjoy reading. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as the next nut when it comes to impatience. For whatever reason, being third in line at a coffee shop or at the pharmacy drive-thru window now feels like an abomination. “What the hell are they doing?” some of us angrily wonder aloud. “What’s taking so long?!” It didn’t used to be that way and I suppose we can be thankful we always have a smartphone at the ready to help us kill those seemingly eternal 90 seconds of inactivity. But when it comes to reading, it’s just a shame we’re in such a rush. 

It was Megan who inspired me to enjoy reading. She constantly has a book going in either print or digital format, often working through one of each on a given day. What was once for me a laborious chore is now something to look forward to, even though I can only fit in an average of 15 pages each weekday morning. And I’m not sure where I got my love of the Sunday paper, but it exists for me to this day in all its smudgy, page-snapping glory. Something about old-fashioned reading and reflecting doesn’t get old and surely doesn’t need to be sped through. Oh, I get it; those of you with young ones at home may roll your eyes due to your extremely tight schedules. You can understandably challenge this post with, “Hey let me get through diapers, dinner and baths and then talk to me about free time with a book.” Perfectly understood. In my house, our baby is the last child home and he stands 6’ 3″, so it’s a bit easier than it once was to schedule the time. 

For all the e-newsletters we get announcing the latest and greatest thing, I learned about Spritz in the Ideas section of a recent Sunday Globe. The article is already starting to yellow a bit here on my desk. It sits there as a reminder that perhaps not everything needs to be improved upon.

Originally posted by Chris Bond on October 23, 2014 at 3:55pm 

Updated: May 1st, 2021

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