Monday, October 5, 2009

Five tips to outwit the knowledge economy

Even the most reticent among us now acknowledge that the way our economy works and the way a large majority of us produce value has changed significantly. If you're not there yet, you should perhaps watch the latest version of Did You Know. to get a sense of how this world is asking something different of you.

This fundamental shift clearly hasn't been matched by a smooth adaptationd by our population. Personally, I've experienced a significant lag between my realization that the world had changed and the creation of strategies to feel like I'm actually engaged in the shift.

Here's some rules I've now put in place. Perhaps they'll be of assistance:

Make information work for you
Set up filters and categories in your email, through RSS and screen your phone calls. If you don't manage the flow coming at you, it can be constant and very distracting.

Document your best ideas and share them
The name of the game is now reputation. People won't seek you out for your knowledge like they used to and letters behind your name now mean less than they ever have. If you want people to have confidence that you have the smarts for the next problem, solve some existing ones without being asked.

Become a student... and a teacher
Along with increased availability of information is an accelerated pace of change. The approach I advocate is to institute a self-study course that makes you an eternal Master's student. You can never be on top of it all, but to be relevant in the discussion, you have to be informed and carry an opinion. Teaching is a no-brainer. It's how we learn. There's also a huge audience as we all try and figure it out.

It's DIY
In The Pirate's Dilemma, Matt Mason references a punk magazine that showed the neck of a guitar and three possible chords. It said, "Here's a chord. Here's two more. Now go form you own band." Go nuts. There are no restrictions. At little to no cost, you get to try what you want.

Embrace your new role
Most of all, beyond any advice I'm providing, I urge you to find a way to enjoy this environment. It's not going away anytime soon. There are plenty of discoveries, perspectives and unconventional sources to keep things interesting, but they can also drive you nuts. Make sure you have the right frame of mind. It's more of a pick-up game than league play. No-one is looking over everything with the right answer, not even Seth Godin.

There is no single source. YOU are a source. I'm a source. Isn't this fun?

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