Tuesday, June 19, 2007

E2.0 Rattling Business Foundations

David Weinberger, from the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, shared his thoughts on rattling the foundations of business.

Why aren't we drowning in information? The solution to the information overload is more information: metadata.

First Order: put something somewhere- a document in a folder. Second order: Then organize based on key facts e.g. card catalog. This works for physical world where you need to keep things apart. Two things cannot be in the same place at the same time. This requires some top-down authority deciding where something ends up.

These limitations on physical things do not apply to information. In a physical store, the product cannot be in one place. In an online store, the product can be in multiple categories.

Since data and metadata are both digital, you can organize and search the data and metadata. Essentially everything is metadata. You can search, by author, title and the text of the document.

Unowned order, the user controls the order, not the publisher. Let the users find what they need and connect the pieces and relationships. Make more information available to the user and let them work with it. (Saturn is now including Camrys and Accords in their showroom for you to test drive against the Aura. WSJ.com sub required )

Wikipedia is willing to be fallible. They post warnings that the contents are in dispute. By contrast a newspaper is in the business of being infallible. Businesses have trouble accepting their infallibility.

Knowledge is social. The intelligence of the group is smarter than any one individual. Businesses need to harness the knowledge of their stakeholders: employees, customer and competitors.

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