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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One True Expert

David Weinberger is one of my heroes. He was one of the four who wrote The Cluetrain Manifesto, which laid out the “why” of social media. He has a hot blog The Journal of Heuristic Organizations (JOHO), and he has a new book, Too Big To Know, one of several recent books defining how information, education, learning, and society are being changed by the hyperlink.

I really like David because he writes about important ideas and makes them useful in many ways. As you can see from that hyperlink hyperlink, he can be a bit of a smartass, meaning he finds shareable humor everywhere he goes. What would you expect from a guy who was a writer for Woody Allen?

Over the weekend, I enjoyed a 58 minute video, Authors @ Google: David Weinberger (Thanks Google!) where David explains parts of his new book. It was a two pages of notes presentation, which means I got a lot of value per minute. This is new thinking, not sit back entertainment, so I wrote the ideas, so I could think about them later.

I think a lot about models, (Reality is too complex to parse in real time, models are simplified versions of reality. Don’t confuse the model with the reality), so one of the best bits in the video was the platypus. 

After we noticed animal-vegetable-mineral, scientists set up an organizing system, or taxonomy, so they would know where things fit in relation to each other, and why a tomato is a fruit.

The platypus didn't fit the classification requirements of the taxonomy, so the most common solution was the platypus couldn't exist. Wonder who told the platypus' mother? 

Taxonomies are a way to put everything in their one right place. That is important if you're filing your data in libraries and books. The one right place no longer matters in a hyperlinked world. Louie, Louie shows up on every rock playlist without being diminished.

Building on how hyperlinks change single point filing methodologies, Weinberger then notes the value of having one true expert. 

Since knowledge is so hard to find, let’s certify specialists in specific disciplines, so we can ask them the hard questions and get a quick answer. What we notice next is one expert is an authority, two experts is a disagreement. The hyperlinked world allows anyone who cares to look at the original data, and I find the experts usually recommend a suboptimal solution for my need.

Now that hyperlinks let each of us look at the original material, finding and understanding what we need is different than relying on the one true expert. And that is why hyperlinks have changed our world.

Your thoughts?

Please join us 6 pm, March 13th, at the Capital Technology Management Hub, where Sales Lab’s Jack Gates presents Rainmaker 12, Lessons from Makers, followed by the featured CTMH Presentation, Sales Lab’s Dick Davies speaking about The Direct Economy, How to Profit from The Most Lucrative Market in the History of the World!

1 comment:

Unknown said...


The platypus mom now understands why everything else looks so funny.

This is a vivid example of having only the experts' rendition of reality - what does not fit the model or taxonomy is not even footnoted - just ignored. Think about how many evolutionary humans are now categorized from the original two.

With the hyperlink we can benefit from the applied knowledge of the expert and also access the material directly to form our own conclusions, if we choose.

In school, when writing papers using the work of others we would footnote to cite the source. This did more to protect copyright than to expand knowledge.

With hyperlinks, we have the ability to immediately go to the source for more detail, and the process is so simple and easy to add the link that open sharing of knowledge is much more prevalent and cited authors receive recognition for their work.

Hyperlinks fight surface thinking (just repeating what you have been told with no original thought added) - this is a good thing!