The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Accession of Knowledge: Part I

The growth pattern of the knowledge economy is staggering. I recall a quote by Dr. Nick Bontis (Associate Professor at DeGroote in Strategy) that when we were in grade 2 the amount of knowledge in the world had doubled since our birth - now it is something like every 10 minutes. With the exponential growth of citizen journalism, blogs and readily accessible google based knowledge I can see his point... I subscribe to several RSS feeds in my field of work and I could honestly spend all day pouring over new posts & legal opinions which would, in theory, help me make better informed decisions in my workplace....and I don't subscribe to that many, less than 10.

An interesting article on how RSS is evolving in the knowledge based environment is Feedburner's "Burning Questions" Feed for Thought post on how RSS and Blogs have changed in the past 3 years. At inception they RSS was mainly a blogger tool but now has expanded to web services, commercial publications and even news articles for major news networks - this shift is important to note because it allows users and publishers to keep updated on new knowledge articles as they are posted to the web. It's almost like the subversive Naomi Klein-esque No-Logo backdoor version of the information age's marketing. It will be interesting to see how corporations begin to capitalize on this, for example in a few years I can just see the local RSS feed for McDonald's when their menu changes... But I digress...

Now, in another breath, take the decentralized power of the internet. With services such as Cafe Press' Self Publish Books I can do things like type a book, upload the PDF and *poof* anyone can buy my purchase and it is printed, bound and shipped on a 1 of basis...I suspect this is a sure fire way to make some money on my thesis, but I digress... again.

You know what this really means: There is an abundant pile of "knowledge-crap" out there.

My thoughts on this really came to culmination when I read an article in today's Financial Post. It brought to light how several (or most) of the well-to-do hedge fund managers actually ignore and avoid most of the available broker research (Nov 28th - Broker research a Tough Sell on the Street). Why? Too much crappy information out there. If a hedge fund manager making $1 Million a year has figured this out, I'm looking for a raise in my life salary...

Now consider these two topics - the continual exponential growth of the knowledge base (supported and accessible via the internet) and the fact that anyone, anywhere can offer services that 20 years ago would have required a small mortgage and publishing army I am starting to get to the point where I am actually getting too much information to filter out. There are days when I feel like all I do is field work emails for press releases people think I am interested in along with reading up on new technologies or progress in my field that happened that day - no forward progression of my corporate goals are done.

One can work all day moving the company forward, but doesn't actually offer any corporate progress towards its end goals.

So what's the balance between knowledge & forward progress? I have a theory, but it's going to take considerable more thought to get it down in a coherent fashion for commentary. I thought I would use today's post to set the stage. Suffice to say academia will be proud as it is a 2x2x2 matrix with some charts and statistics. In the mean time if you are interested in seeing Part II be posted or have any thoughts drop them in the comments box and I'll see if they are addressable in my theory.