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Monday, 21 July 2014

A Need to Know Basis

Share your knowledge. Refusing to help others is rarely a good thing.   

Holy Scripture, Batman
A significant example of sharing knowledge is William Tyndale's translation of part of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into English in 1526. The printing of this text allowed ordinary people to bypass the priests and monks to interpret the information and stories for themselves. You can see why the authorities didn't like it; Tyndale was strangled and burnt at the stake for his trouble. However, three years later Henry VIII authorised the translation of the remainder of the Bible for use in parish churches. He'd broken away from the Pope and created the Church of England - arguably the first (and most successful) crowd-funded start-up.

Revenge of the Nerds
A modern, rather less important example is the office I.T. specialist, revelling in the confusion experienced by the very people that they're supposed to help. They maintain the mystery in order to keep their superior status, but in the process come across as awkward and unhelpful.


They're sharing - they're happy.

Proper Intelligent Maintaining complexity of information doesn't prove you're clever. In Hamlet, Polonius says "Since brevity is the soul of wit..." (a joke; Polonius is rather verbose), where 'wit' means intelligence and wisdom. So Shakespeare was saying that if you're smart and knowledgeable, your approach should be to communicate your complicated knowledge as simply as possible. He'd probably have enjoyed conventional Powerpoint presentations as much as I do. 

Don't be a gatekeeper to your precious knowledge; share it freely. You won't lose any strength by doing this; you'll gain it instead.

Related: a beautifully concise post from Seth Godin from July 7th.