Context vs Content, what is more important?





Bill Gates says: Content is King.

And I believed it for years. It is still true though, but only to a certain extent.

“Content” means the material that you can share with others.



I recently enjoyed reading “The hard thing about hard things” from Ben Horowitz. One thing I particularly remember is that when he built the culture in Opsware (his first company), he mentioned that profanity was important for his company culture but the tone has to be correct. So he made the example of “cupcakes”, it would be recognized as ok if he comments on someone’s cupcakes baking skills are good, however it would not be ok if he calls a male colleague “cupcake”.

I’ve been thinking about context meaning recently and the “cupcake” example is a typical case for contextual understanding. We receive different feelings based on the contextual understanding of the content, and that decides whether we like or dislike that piece of content under particular circumstances.

Content cannot be king without context.

If Bill Gates says content is king, then context should be the queen.

“Context” means various components in the content that influence how people perceive the content. It carries the purpose of the content.

Contextual understanding has a huge impact on our experience when consuming content, and that impact starts early, already when we are selecting movies and TV shows to watch. My partner asked me whether I want to watch Jupiter’s Legacy with him on a Friday night, I said I was not in the mood for that.

Then I started to think, when would I be in the mood for that? Almost never. The fact is that I have never been a superhero content fan. The feelings I get from watching superhero movies are so different from what my partner gets.