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Value from Information

"When copies are super abundant, they become worthless. When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable." Thus begins Kevin Kelly's latest post on The Technium. The business world in general, and the content businesses in particular, have been struggling with this basic reality. Media companies are built on being the sole distribution point for content, so if you want to read a book, watch a show, or listen to a song, you need to come to them. The internet's basic underlying structure turns this concept on its head - the content is abundant now, not scarce! While our work with researchers is somewhat different than creating music, the concepts of creating value are still true.

Kelly talks about eight ways you can deliver value built on top of content, and these two in particular demonstrate how Mains Associates delivers value to our clients. "Interpretation -- As the old joke goes: software, free. The manual, $10,000. But it's no joke. (...) I suspect a lot of genetic information will go this route. Right now getting your copy of your DNA is very expensive, but soon it won't be. In fact, soon pharmaceutical companies will PAY you to get your genes sequence. So the copy of your sequence will be free, but the interpretation of what it means, what you can do about it, and how to use it -- the manual for your genes so to speak -- will be expensive." and "Findability -- Where as the previous generative qualities reside within creative digital works, findability is an asset that occurs at a higher level in the aggregate of many works. (...) But no matter what its price, a work has no value unless it is seen; unfound masterpieces are worthless. When there are millions of books, millions of songs, millions of films, millions of applications, millions of everything requesting our attention -- and most of it free -- being found is valuable. "

Our stock in trade is really built on the two above concepts. We take complex information and make it comprehensible. This is built primarily on relating the information to you, and how you can benefit from this. The second point about "findability" (don't like that word) is often a result of our process. Most of the research topics we work with have hundreds or thousands of related papers, articles, etc., so our review process weeds out the least relevant, leaving links to the next level of detail, the most relevant.

While the world will always need people and organizations to create information in the first place, that information will quickly lose value unless they make that information useful to their audience and findable by their audience. So they question is: do you create information, or do you create value from information?

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