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The commodity of information

August 7, 2009 • Uncategorised

Information used to be highly prized, but with the advent of networking sites and social media, information value has decreased to almost zero. Information is now a commodity, easy accessible and at different qualities. Most people will go for cheap and cheerful, or even ‘free’ if it is available.

We now have forager mentality, where people casually seek information from many sources, and use comparative sources to assess the value of the gleaned information. Some use sophisticated software to validate and authenticate the source of the information, but this is rare and usually inside the domain of the organisation.

Does this mean that information has less value?

The inevitable answer is – Yes.

Just in any scenario of supply and demand – the more available a product is, the less value it has to the consumer. Perhaps information sources should take a look at the diamond market model – however, because of the relatively few diamond producers, diamonds can be kept at premium prices.

However, due to a proliferation of information disseminators, there is unlikely to be a consensus agreement. One supplier will always break the cartel, even if it is Uncle George writing his blog in his garage.

Whether to enter the fray is always an issue – so many ‘networking’ sites and ways to communicate now, how do you choose?

One curious turn of events that appears to be coming out of this is the value of ‘following’, a known and valued commenter, who adds Insightful and relevant comments to blogs and other sources, might be thought of as more relevant than the initial blog item poster.

Free e-books now proliferate the market, from great minds and novelists. I wonder what will happen as information keeps being reduced in value.
(See: “The latest craze: Free e-books offerings” http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090807/ap_on_hi_te/us_free_e_books )

One free book that is worth reading as it is an expose of the IT industry written as a novel: http://www.martinbutlerresearch.com/

So, in summary.

Is the information we issue irrelevant, simply because as even ‘history’ changes at such a fast pace, we cannot keep up, or that one opinion is rapidly superimposed by others ?

If this is indeed the case, and there are issues of task switching and attention deficit here also, where do we go from here?

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2 Responses to The commodity of information

  1. Ed Follet says:

    Following on from my previous comment I recently saw an interesting feature about Formula One racing teams using gathered data to run simulations via computer models in order to develop winning strategies before and during the race.

    In situations where split second tactical decisions are required, having the best options always available, dynamically updated as the race progresses, is an obvious advantage.

    In that scenario getting good quality information covering most (but not all) of the parameters is achievable and confidence in the results is high. Artificial intelligence is used to speed up the analysis and assessment processes.

    There is without doubt a huge amount of information to be mined in SL. It is possible for anyone to set up their own simulation to gather behavioural and other information, which could be used for business and marketing purposes.

    The issue is confidence and therefore validity of the product. To be successful, the intelligence requirement needs to be identified in very specific terms and the means of gathering information carefully planned and controlled. There also needs to be sufficient flexibility in the plan to react to changing circumstances.

    I believe the people who are successful in this area will be the ones who can provide the whole package tailored to a customer’s specific requirements. As you have said the ease of access to raw data has decreased its value to almost nothing.

  2. Debs Regent says:

    Hi Ed, Agreed – information is important when it is personal information. Private information carries a premium that public information does not. Telemetry information would fall into this bracket too.

    As for public information, I see that through freelance web sites, they are putting a value of $1 on 500 words for an article. It would take a professional writer between 1/4 hour and 5 days to write that on a topic with which they were familiar. This is now the value of information – $1 for 500 words (or $4 an hour)!

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