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Fri 25 Apr 2003
Category : Commentary/infoanxiety.txt
In the field of marketing, there is a saying attributed to Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon, who said, "In the factory Revlon manufactures cosmetics, but in the store Revlon sells hope." This is often taken to mean that we ought to know what business we are in.
Ask anyone in the IT industry and they'll say they're working with computers. Very seldom do they say they're working with information, or trying to understand the nature of information, so that they can choose the right tools to shape, channel, and marshall it.
But if you're willing to understand the distinction, if only to refute that there's a distinction, try reading Richard Saul Wurman. Ten years ago, he coined the term "Information Anxiety" and described a business he calls "The Understanding Business". That helped me build a context around the work I was doing with computers and the kind of business I wanted to be building.
That book is out of print but I see from Amazon that he has a follow-up called Information Anxiety 2 which appears to be just as good. I hope to read that too. I see people reading ".Net" or "C#" or "Oracle" and all these stuff on the MRT. It may be easy to miss the forest for the trees.