Communicate the high-order bit

“Bill [Gates] built the first software company… before anyone knew what a software company was. The business model… ended up working real well. There’s a lot more you can say, but that’s the high-order bit.” — Steve Jobs

When you are thinking, talking, or writing about a situation, there are many true, valid things you could say. Instead of listing them all, find the high-order bit — the “bottom line” that summarizes the situation in 10 words or less. The high-order bit packages 90% of the message in 1% of the time, with 10x the memorability.

For example: assume you are telling your friend about a restaurant. You could say, “When we arrived, the hostess ignored our party for five minutes. After we were seated, the table was wobbling and they had to fix it. Then, the waiter forgot to take our drink order. The appetizers came out with the main course. Just as I was about the eat, Ted spotted my fork was dirty. The waiter brought a new one, but the pasta was overcooked so it was useless. After all of that, on our way out the door, the maĆ®tre d’ chided us for not leaving a tip. There is no way I would recommend you, or anyone, eat at that establishment.”

Alternatively, the high-order bit is: “That restaurant is unprofessional — don’t go there.”