Tweaking the Cuban Two Part World

August 26, 2012

I agree in general with “Which USA Do You Work In? The premise is that it is good to be smart and digital. Those who are not smart and pretty much users of ATM machines or maybe robbers of those who use ATM machines. Mr. Cuban, a digital and smarts mogul, writes:

The problem for those  who work in brick and mortar is that as the intelligence is sucked out of the job. The intelligence required to do the

job is reduced. Yes, you still have to be good at what you do. But you can  be great at customer service or great in a factory line with out a college education. The competition for jobs that don’t require degrees has pushed down the wages paid for brick and mortar jobs as well. When there are no specific skills beyond basic people and communication skills required the job pool competing for any openings expands considerably. Forcing down wages. Leaving more unemployed unemployed. The other unfortunate part of working brick and mortar is that as intelligence is moved out of of physical locations it also reduces the number of jobs available.  Have you ever seen a cashier at an Apple Store ? Unemployment is sky high in the brick and mortar world.

In my goose pond, the split is described as “knowledge value.” And “split” is not exactly right. Knowledge value suggests that information can be monetized. If the facts or skills one possesses match a need, then one may be able to charge to deliver knowledge value. Skip the socio-political implications of this idea and focus on work, money, and influence.

I like to visualize one of those sliding controls in a user interface. Move the virtual know to the left and the knowledge value drops to zero. Slide the virtual knob to the right and you get into McKinsey and Bain territory. If you know about the compensation for blue chip consultants, you see the monetary value of the high knowledge value setting.

What’s this mean to the issues Mr. Cuban addresses?

First, those who have low knowledge value jobs are stuck unless the individuals pump up their knowledge value. Here’s how it works. You know how to fix an MBA’s laptop so it will print a document. You can do this for free or you can charge big bucks. If the person with the know how is into the knowledge value game, the MBA may pony up some cash to get the document. Now think about a nasty legal situation. Do you want a low knowledge value or a high knowledge value attorney helping you out?

Second, some knowledge work can deliver a big payday. I suggest people think about getting jobs in terms of knowledge value. When one leverages knowledge value in an optimal way, money awaits the person who can find a person or company requiring knowledge value. How does one get knowledge? How does one communicate value? High knowledge value has more magnetism than low knowledge value. One can determine one’s knowledge value when others find you.

Do schools teach this knowledge value method? See The Knowledge-Value Revolution, Or, a History of the Future.

Stephen E Arnold,


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