Thursday, March 27, 2008

Information is a Verb

I still remember some hectic mid-recession workday during the Bush 41 economy when I read that headline in my cube at FIND/SVP. The author was Cindy Kotler and she was describing in the now defunct Journal of Commerce the unwavering attention that Japanese managers favor on market intelligence. They certainly had a stronger appetite for it than our American clients. But the corollary to fact-gathering was also true: Information devoid of its social, marketing and technical implications is meaningless. In theory few would disagree. In practice we're still at the starting gates.

Today the info as verb mantra is especially applicable to Google's mantra in support of its strategy to organize the world's information. How?

* By buying out major publishers?
* By indexing enough of the web to control its currents and manage its pulses?

Nope. The method writes B. Iyer T. Davenport in the current HBR is...

Informational kudzu, always putting down new roots based on the thoroughly internalized principle that information shall be organized by analyzing users' intentions.

It's not a "what" -- it's a "how." Information by itself ... hangs itself. If it's sticky it's a piece of gum just waiting for a ride on someone's feet. If not it races to the bottom of the search results.

Contrary to Google's colossal search logs it is not a person, place, or thing, nor is it simply a description of static facts.

Stepping back again to the early nineties what would the past say about today's acumen for putting information into action? I don't mean Google's strategy per se but our own ability to interpret information through the lens of intentionality?

Could it be that our ability to test scenarios, consider outcomes, and weigh consequences now rivals the sophistication of our search tools? Could it be that information gathering and dissemination are learned skills possessed by fewer and fewer as access to information increases?

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About attentionSpin

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.