Written by Michael Angier
“Facts are cheap, information is plentiful—knowledge is precious.”
For many people, especially seasoned Internet users, the idea of paying for information is a hard one to swallow.
There’s so much data, so many sources, and the access so easy, many people feel they shouldn’t have to pay for it.
And yet, we do it all the time. We go to seminars, we hire consultants, we take classes, we retain professionals.
Why? Because we need to gain knowledge in a palatable, efficient and organized fashion. We pay high hourly rates to professionals because they have specialized knowledge and they provide trusted advice and dependable solutions to problems.
Even though we now have the means of accessing virtually all the documented knowledge the world has to offer, don’t ever think that it’s free. Even without paying outright for information, there’s a substantial, albeit usually hidden, cost. The expenditure is in terms of the time required to retrieve and integrate useful information. There’s a substantial cost attached to the time involved in sifting and filtering the data we all seek in order to be more profitable, effective and fulfilled.
If you don’t put a price on your time, then it might not seem like your research and study time is costing you much. But it is.
Time is the “gold” of the new century. You can always make more money, but you can’t get any more time. Can you really afford to search and surf several hours a day for the information you desire? Can you subscribe to—and read—30-40 publications? Probably not.
And yet staying up-to-date is critical to our success.
Paul Zane Pilzer has predicted that adult education will be the number-one industry in the U.S. by 2005. Things are changing so rapidly that we must constantly be learning new technologies and new skills.
Our education is truly a life-long endeavor. It’s not enough to have a general education, we need to know where to turn for information, how to access that information, and more importantly, who we can trust.
By knowing what a customer wants, and having a good sense of the needs of its clients, an information company can keep its members abreast of trends, provide up-to-date news and information, and remind them of the keys and principles they need to keep in mind. As we’re bombarded with information, we’ll need more and more the services of a discerning staff to support us by supplying encapsulated wisdom on a regular basis. It is to this that our organization is committed.
Some of our members have likened it to hiring someone to watch out for you—someone to keep your interests and well-being in mind. Managers, leaders and heads of large companies have people they pay to do this for them. Today’s entrepreneur and intrepreneur need this, too.
What’s it worth? Well, let’s say you value your time at $50 an hour. If you plan to be a real success in your career, you need to begin to value your time at what it will be worth, not only what it’s worth now. For purposes of example, let’s use the $50 and say that you could save just two hours a week. That’d be $5,200 a year.
When you truly equate the cost of your time to sift and filter, you start to appreciate the value of someone doing this for you.
If we’re committed to leading a successful life—to optimizing our efforts—it’s critical for us to increase our skills, expand our knowledge and stay abreast of things that affect our future. We live in an age of information overload where data dumping is epidemic.
It’s not a shortage of information, but rather a shortage of time to obtain, study and focus this knowledge of which we’re in short supply. We need help in filtering the data in order that we assimilate what’s important. Businesses that fill this need (whether it’s their main focus or not) will do well in the years ahead.
Like Ben Franklin said, “If a man empties his purse in his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
And remember, information—or rather the acquisition of knowledge—is not free.