19 July 2006

A telephone seminar

I listened to a telephone seminar yesterday - it was supposed to be the lowdown on an aspect of eCommerce but it was a really a puff for a restricted entry programme of telephone seminars supported by a forum and email access to the great man himself.

What was fascinating was the level of the seminar - I know expertise is easy to claim but the hour was a mixture of the banal leavened by the inaccurate - he even managed to get his limited duration offer wrong towards the end of the session. So why did I listen in? Partly to understand what people regard as expertise. People did take advantage of the limited duration offer (buy now - first 50 get a special price - when they're gone, they're gone ...) which tells me that people know less than I think they should and we should be in a strong position to benefit from that.

One of the offers from this telephone seminar and the restricted entry programme was a series of recordings that you could access "24/7 just in case you need to refresh yourself about any aspect of this seminar". That is an offer I won't be taking up. I'm not going to wade through a one hour recording to satisfy myself that he said the widget was purple when he actually meant brown. There is a way I might be persuaded to make use of the recording, but only if it was broken into small tracks and classified in a carefully structured taxonomy so that I could quickly find what it was I was looking for.

At one of the first places I ever worked, I met a guy who told me "Any fool can file, it's retrieval that's hard." Of course, at the age of 17 I had no clue what he really meant but his thought has stuck in my head and I still use the phrase, even today.

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