Million seconds, billion seconds

A million seconds is 12 days from now.

A billion seconds?

32 years.

That difference surprised me as it wasn’t what I expected. A billion is significantly bigger than I had imagined.

Chip Heath and Karla Starr use this example in “Making Numbers Count” to drive home the point that we don’t have an intuitive understanding of big numbers. The implication is that we need to make the effort to always put numbers in context for the people we’re presenting to.

It is a point well made.