Short Long

by Johnny Debacle

Why are things so long? Why does any conference call last more than 20 minutes? Why is any report longer than say 20 pages? Why are history books more than 50 pages? Why does your story not end sooner? Because they are too long. Using my “Why Quantity” investing screen on Bloomberg, I sent our analtern (analyst intern) to research length. His findings are that everything is at least 25% too long and range up to 1000% too long. Examples:

  • Conference calls are, on average, 57% too long
  • Meeting are 123% too long
  • Academic books are 432% too long — many could be boiled down to two pages without any loss of signal
  • Reports to bosses are 231% too long, 488% if you adjust for the cost of time for the average boss
  • Porn stars exhibit length which, based on our baseline, is 20% too long and frequently frightening
  • Foreplay is both too long AND too short; 100% too short based on what you tell your partner pre-foreplay, and 100% too long based on your perspective during foreplay
  • A relationship over three months long is approximately X minus 3 months too long, wherein X is the length of the relationship in months (LoS will have more detail on this fact in a future research report)

Recommendation: As an exhibit of the pervasiveness of the Too Long problem (and opportunity), this research article would have been too long if I had continued with the above list. There continues to be a premium on brevity, which makes it profitable to be Long Short. In addition, we recommend being Short Long.

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  1. To The Hilt
    December 20th, 2007 | 2:23 pm

    Very well done, sirs.

    If short is long, then I’m Peter North.

  2. Ruthless Gravity
    December 20th, 2007 | 5:00 pm

    Its the cover my ass factor

  3. born to lose
    December 20th, 2007 | 6:23 pm

    I don’t like the looks of this market, I’m long the double inverse ETFs “GGNNOOLL” and “TTRROOHHSS”

  4. Cletus
    December 20th, 2007 | 10:47 pm

    What’s an ass factor?

  5. leveraged finance
    December 21st, 2007 | 6:16 am

    the factor for an ass

  6. Polonius
    December 21st, 2007 | 10:58 am

    Brevity is indeed the soul of wit.

  7. Zeke
    December 21st, 2007 | 2:01 pm

    Brevity, quite rightly, has been regarded by many–though not all–as perhaps constituting the greater part of what academics and theoreticians refer to as the “soul” of wit.

  8. dittyesq
    December 22nd, 2007 | 2:09 am

    Speaking of too long, what’s with “nicknames” that are longer than the original? I mean, why “Johnny?” It’s terribly wasteful. With the rise of the Chinese economy, the world’s supply of consonsants has become stretched dangerously thin. We all need to do our part to conserve this valuable resource. (Full Disclosure: Long consonants.)

  9. fred
    April 8th, 2008 | 12:41 am

    long is indeed to long. this topic has been here long. time to short long, and maybe even short medium length. and absolutely short shorts!