Keynote Text Analysis

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 13 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

This is kind of cool. Todd Bishop, a writer at the Seattle PI who covers Microsoft and “related business and technology subjects”, did an analysis of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell’s keynote speeches at MacWorld and CES. He ran each speech through 4 tests (Avg. Words/Sentence, Lexical Density, Hard Words, Gunning Fog Index) and also created a tag cloud. The results are very interesting.

Go take a gander: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs: Keynote text analysis

One thing to keep in mind when looking at the scores: “Lower scores generally mean that the language is easier to understand. By those measures, one executive did noticeably better than the others.”

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5 thoughts on “Keynote Text Analysis”

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  3. Keep in mind that these are keynote addresses for tech conferences. The Gunning Fog index measures complexity of language, at least as far as I know. I’d like to think that in a room filled with probably somewhere upward of 90% college grads (I’m guessing), all these audiences could handle complex language.

    Steve Jobs receiving a lower score on the index just means he used less complex language, which yes, means it’s easier for the average bear to understand, but I’d have to say that it doesn’t make his speech better, just simpler.

    The Wiki on the the G-F Index suggests that in documents designed for general consumption should have a G-F score of 12 or less (12th grade reading level). By those measures, Steve Jobs’ speech was targeted towards 5th graders, and Dell’s and Job’s speech’s we’re targeted towards a moderately well-educated (people who made it to upperclassmen status in high school) audience. Given that anyone who didn’t graduate from high school probably won’t have the cash to buy any of these gadgets, this higher rating is perhaps appropriate.

    Not to steal Jobs’ thunder (iPhone seems exciting) but perhaps he should raise his speech-writing IQ to match his colleagues, rather than the other way around. But who knows, it could be good mass-marketing. Or maybe the G-F index is just load of bullshit.

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