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This sounds like a resolution to the problem of short attention spans and wildly inaccurate internet information. I love it!

02 May 2014

I believe we are very misinformed as a society and the reality is that explaining even the most complex of issues can be broken down for almost anybody to understand. I would lo...

09 May 2014

Really appreciate what you are trying to build at AbridgeME as it seems to be the ideal thing in this fast paced world where time is a scarce commodity.

14 May 2014

A shortened, well written version of Wikipedia will do wonders!

16 May 2014

What a wonderful idea! AbridgeME will be especially helpful to people whom English is their 2nd or 3rd language!

17 May 2014

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The ever-evolving product is an incredibly powerful centralized knowledge base of short, well-explained summaries for any user to quickly read and absorb.

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Eric Rems 21 Dec 2014

This is a question we get often and as it is a key element, and a designed limitation to the AbridgeMe platform, it certainly warrants an explanation. So here goes…


When our team set out to develop AbridgeMe at the beginning of this year, our vision was clear in wanting to create the ‘go-to’ resource for finding a quick, opinion-free, “elevator pitch” style summary on any topic.


Our own frustrations with the existing resources and their lack of concise explanations motivated us to develop and build a community where contributors were challenged to write concisely and learners were guaranteed to get up to speed quickly. The keyword that continued to define our vision being, quick.

While quick is a somewhat subjective term and can take many forms, for us the definition was simple?—?we were looking for the convergence of two key elements:


  1. the # of words a writer needed to effectively explain a topic.
  2. the # of words a person with no prior knowledge on a topic needed to get up to speed on it.

With these two elements in mind, we began testing various word counts with 1.) groups of writers who were delivering content and 2.) what we refer to as ‘knowledge seekers’?—?those looking to understand an entirely foreign topic.


What we found from a knowledge seeker standpoint (and this probably isn’t earth shattering news to anyone), was that the shorter the explanation provided to them, and therefore the quicker they were able to get up to speed on a topic, the better. They also noted that their time was an incredibly valuable resource and if we could free up more of it (by delivering concise explanations), they we 100% on board.


When presented two well-explained summaries on a given topic, they almost always preferred the shorter explanation.


Fact: 8 seconds = current human attention span


With knowledge seekers looking to get up to speed as quick as possible, this left much of the leg work to those delivering the content?—?the contributors. We saw some incredibly good writers that had the unique ability to explain both straightforward (think September 11th Attacks) and somewhat complex topics (think Arab Spring) very simply and get people up to speed in often times under 75 words.


For those writers who either did not have the skill of short, articulate, explanation or more importantly did not have a good understanding themselves on the topic being explained, their explanations tended to drag on and on (200+ words)?—?this was something knowledge seekers could not stand. Get. To. The. Point. They’d stress. A response that certainly falls in line with the 8 second attentions spans noted in the fact above.


The challenge of course also revolves around the complexity of the topic at hand. This is why we ultimately decided to broaden the length to 100 words?—?roughly 4 to 5 sentences on average. Take for example String Theory, an incredibly complex Physics concept that is certainly very difficult to explain in 100 words or less. What this does (and is a by-product we intended to create) is for these highly complex type topics, it really requires somebody with deep subject matter expertise to explain it in a concise, yet informative enough way for knowledge seekers to understand.


Our goal all along has been to attract the world’s leading experts in these more complex fields to contribute their simple explanations and help the world understand them…Neil deGrasse Tyson if you’re reading this please reach out, String Theory is all yours.


While we certainly wouldn't disagree that our 100 word constraint is a bit more of an art than a science, we do truly hope to make the world a more knowledgeable place by bringing together those with the ability to deliver concise explanations and the millions of people around the world looking to maximize their free time and get up to speed quickly on any topic.


If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough?—?Einstein


Quick Note: To make our intentions with AbridgeMe clear, we absolutely see the value in the more traditional in-depth resources out there. What we are building takes nothing away from them, but instead is a complimentary resource (we even help facilitate that by linking to related news articles). We just aim to provide a new tool for those people looking to get up to speed quickly on any topic.

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