Sharing Knowledge Matters More

The Internet of things

In Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull talks about rendering complex objects and curved surfaces with computers. We take that for granted today; yet it was a process to get there. Because the hand, is an incredibily complex "object" to try to capture and translate into arrays of numbers

To pull it off, Catmull had to draw triangles and polygons on a model, then measure the coordinates of each of their corners, then enter the data into a 3D program he had written. By displaying the connections, he formed the picture of the hand on screen.

With the current focus on content, we run the risk of forgetting that it is the nodes, the connections, that create a picture.

Catmull's story is deeply intertwined with that of many pioneers of what we have come to expect of the world wide web. Which is a web of connections that rests on the Internet; a web generated by people sharing knowledge.

It is the act of sharing knowledge that advances our understanding of how things work and creates opportunity.

Doc Searls on thinking outside the pipes#:

‘Content” is the wrong focus here. It’s just business jive for stuff that floats subscription and advertising revenue online. Sharing knowledge matters much more. The most serious threat to sharing knowledge—and doing the rest of what the Internet is good for—is a conceptual one: thinking of the Internet as a service we get from phone and cable companies. Or worse, as a way to move ‘content’  around.

And if we think the Net is just another ‘medium,’ we’re missing its real value as a simple and cost-free way to connect everybody and everything. This is what we meant in The Cluetrain Manifesto when we said ‘markets are conversations.’

I have always considered content (for lack of a better term) the expression of knowledge and conversation the tool that helps create the conditions for it, and us by way of our minds, to progress.

Further down in the post Doc says:

Nobody has yet made clear that the Internet is a rising tide that lifts all boats, producing many trillions of dollars in positive economic externalities—and that it can do so because it has no interest in making money for its owner.

As such the Internet is an environment where individual agency (see also the work of Bob Frankson#) is the starting point.

Connecting ideas and people was the first tagline I used at Conversation Agent; they captured how talk can change our lives.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.