Expertise is free, resources are not…

InformationI’m home today. I’m not feeling well – I think many, many, many hours of work and stress are catching up with me. I rolled up on the couch and the electricity went out. It could only get worse if it was raining and cold.

I had some time to read and sleep this morning to try to shake off whatever bug it is that I have. TechZ remarked on all the books I’m reading… it’s usually never less than 3. I am reading 3 right now and have 2 more waiting after that. I love to read. It clears my head and entertains me more than watching a movie or television. I tell my kids that the great thing about reading is that you get to paint the picture or movie in your head. When I go see a movie that’s written about a book, I’m usually disappointed.

I digress… and I only have a 30 or so minutes left on my laptop. And my neighbor may soon find me hijacking his router (unsecured, of course). As I read I got to thinking, and wanted to write about it.

Here’s my theory… information is not worth as much as it used to be. With the Internet, knowledge is becoming cheaper and cheaper by the second. The days of hiring the consultants to tell us what we should be doing are far behind us. Instead, we hire consultants because of what they can be doing for us.

Resources are increasing in worth and knowledge is decreasing.

I have enough knowledge to build a great company. What I lack is the resources – time and money. When I interview perspective consultants, it’s not usually because of what they can or can’t tell me. In fact, I usually understand a little more than they do about what I’m requesting of them. If I feel comfortable with them, I hire them to do the job at hand… because they can focus their attention solely on the issue. I can’t afford to do that.

Years ago, I used to fix my own car. I had done everything there was to do to a car. I had the time, so I would go buy a book and knock it out. As I get older, I don’t enjoy scraping my knuckles anymore so I just bring it to a shop. It’s worth more of my time to have someone else fix it rather than me fixing it. Even with the exorbitant cost of automobile maintenance.

Isn’t this the direction that everything is moving in? Let’s take Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as an example. I’m fairly confident that, given the time, I could build sandbox environments, tweak and experiment to see how I can rise to the top of each of the Search Engine’s algorithms. But I don’t have the time for that. Sure – not everyone could read a blog and begin to do that. I understand… but many people can.

SEO knowledge is free – there is quite a collection of SEO sites and blog on the Internet that continually post their tests and findings. (I’ve used a few of the tweaks on my site). I’m not trying to put down SEO Consultants… they are worth the money. But they are not worth the money because of their expertise, they are worth the money as a valuable resource. They do it every day so that you don’t have to!

The Internet is the Information Superhighway. I know that’s old and cliche, but it’s true. Distribution of knowledge is getting cheaper and cheaper. If I want to find out how to treat my Jack Russell’s dry skin or I want to create an Ajax framework… it’s all right there for me to look it up.

As the Net becomes more organized and easier to search for information, I think it’s important that we look at ourselves less as ‘experts’ and more as ‘resources’. Expertise is all over the place and is free for the taking. Resources are not.

Would you agree?

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