Intellectual capital —that is, knowledge— is often underestimated.
Whenever goods are exchanged, the selling party deducts them from an inventory and receives money in return. However, that does not happen with knowledge. If properly processed, whoever receives that knowledge increases his or her intellectual heritage and information level. But whoever transfers it still retains the knowledge. If dealing with more than a simple piece of information, quite frequently such knowledge is enhanced and perfected during the process. This is what happens to teachers every day—a truly perfect win-win situation!
Today’s communications tools, especially the Internet, provide a virtually limitless supply of information, including very valuable university level courses in different disciplines. Apple Inc. [AAPL] through its iTunes Store, and YouTube, a subsidiary of Google Inc. [GOOG], offer an endless menu of free academic materials in various media formats, such as video and audio, and are related to virtually all areas of knowledge taught in dozens of renowned universities from around the world. The areas of knowledge covered include business, engineering, mathematics, science, fine arts, medicine and health sciences, history, humanities, languages, literature, social sciences, pedagogy, and education. Because this scheme is fully flexible, it can be extended with virtually no limits. Examples are MIT’s courses on video, and an analysis of various famous literary works from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. It is important to consider that these academic institutions and companies are highly competitive and feature their best talents within their vast range of options. There is no way to overstate the monumental importance of this kind of development: the highest quality, university education, is now available worldwide for free!
In order to provide an idea of the extensive variety of possibilities mentioned in the paragraph above, we must underline that when this survey was conducted, more than one hundred prestigious universities from different countries, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Australia, were already offering this amazing free service.
There truly is no way to overstate the extraordinary opportunities, many of them free, that our times offer to anyone who is genuinely willing to improve his or her skills.
Information availability has undergone a radical transformation since the Internet’s birth. Just take a look at Google [GOOG], Wikipedia, and social networking. Not too long ago, only a few narrow-minded, jealous guardians had access to information and knowledge. This is no longer the case —the current amount of available information is overwhelming, quite frequently at a nominal cost, as the case previously exposed. In fact, we now suffer from the opposite problem, surplus instead of scarcity of information. This makes it imperative to analyze all the available information, so as to be able to keep the best and discard the rest.
Even knowledge follows the principles of creative destruction. Good sense about the content, of course, should include a very high dose of basic moral values in addition to appropriate intellectual essence.