Thursday, September 27, 2007

On the other hand: rewriting the textbook

On the other hand, not all news is old news. Using a set of predictive formulas as a guide, scientists have discovered some previously unknown kelp forests near the Galapagos island 50-200 feet beneath the surface of the ocean. The scientific press was full of the news, as it suggested that some forms of marine life were more resilient to climate change than previously thought. (Here's the science daily report.) My first reaction was that it was pleasant to hear some good news about climate change for a change. My second was how exciting it was to hear a research community react to a genuine discovery. As one scientist I heard put it, “This is the kind of paper that gets people rewriting the textbooks.”

It struck me that in marketing we spend so much time talking about (or hyping) how the next new thing that it can become hard to recognize the truly new when we see it. That one piece of data that makes us rewrite the textbooks. If anyone ever posted on this blog I might encourage people to tell me about the latest fact they encountered that made them want to rewrite their own personal textbooks. For me, it might be the big and obvious—though not really predicted fact—that so many people would be so willing and eager to produce and disseminate so much content for free, including me, here. It flies in the face of everything we thought we once knew about the core value of content. For a long time, it seemed that the value of content was defined by its source and context--often its exclusivity. Who knew we'd all be so eager to give it away?

1 comment:

Paul Soldera said...

To me, it's the way now think about expertise. Once the domain of business, academia, even government (although that one is more of a stretch), it's now a guy on the web with a blog writing about something he has spent 20 years doing. Add to that how we now source recommendations and there is a sea change in attitudes towards 'traditional institutions' happening.