When Is Enough Information Enough?

I listed forty geek terms on one of my websites today.  They’re pretty interesting and I love that geekiness is becoming a compliment rather than a slur.

I enjoy reading blogs and clicking on links in Twitter.  I could spend all day just learning.  In fact there was period in my life, okay a looong period, when I felt there was no limit to the knowledge I needed to gather.  Certifications and accreditations don’t exist for the work I do.   It’s more like an independent study but clients are always looking for credentials and I just hate it when someone less qualified gets work because of arbitrary letters after his/her name.

So I tried to fight it by becoming a vortex of information and facts.  (Honestly that’s much harder than it sounds when you consider the information learned right now will be outdated in about two years.) If I didn’t know the answer to a question I asked my partner.  He usually knew or knew where to find it.

How valuable is that? Considerably if you’re an encyclopedia.  Otherwise, not so much.

I realized one day, out of the blue, that my clients (and potential clients) were looking for solutions to problems I could solve.  They didn’t care if I could explain Google‘s algorithm change of the day or the value of a del.icio.us bookmark  over Digg.  What they really wanted to know was if I could help them increase their sales or their client outreach or profitability.  My life changed that day. So did my profit and loss statement.

I haven’t stopped learning.  I just close the browser a lot more often.  I take what’s already in my head and put it in a form my clients can use.  If I don’t have all the information I need I get it from other people.  The sum of the parts is truly greater than the whole.  And that benefits everyone.

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