you are what you share

There’s a nice post by Lisa Katamaya on Boing Boing Gadgets about coffee in a can. She talks about how popular various forms of a coffee in a can are in Japan, and how they are being promoted as being ‘American’ even though there is nothing like it available in America. I love all the different coffees in a can that make their way down here, so I was interested to learn a bit more about them…

And I was a bit discouraged to read the comments on the post. I know that as a general rule, you should never read the comments sections, unless you happen to be reading this blog, but still… A lot of them ended up being like this one:

Coffee in a can would be gross. Coffee needs to be brewed fresh to taste good (and ideally, the beans ground fresh too.)

On the other hand, Americans have drunk vile instant coffee (and nearly as vile Robusta pisswater like Folger’s) for decades, so I don’t know why they didn’t go for canned coffee too.

In reading that (and others like it), I realised why that kind of attitude annoys me so much. These are people that obviously know a lot about coffee, and they’re not unlike people I’ve run into that know a lot about other things, like birds, music, sports, etc. Knowing a lot about something comes naturally to people that are smart, and maybe have a bit of a tendency towards obsessiveness. And to me, the question is – once you know a lot about something, what do you do with that knowledge? Do you use it like a club to whack people that know less than you do, or that, even worse, don’t like exactly the same things that you do? Or do you spread the knowledge?

Knowing a lot about something is a gift – and using knowledge to batter people is abusing that gift. The best thing to do with a gift is to spread the wealth. As Charles Leadbeater says in We Think – you are what you share!

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

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2 thoughts on “you are what you share

  1. Tim,

    Perhaps one of the most irritating things about knowledge elitism is that it often devolves into dogma. This dogma is not subject to debate by the knowledge-havenots (what do these ignoramuses know, after all?) Meanwhile, no one can be promoted to the ranks of the knowledge-haves without accepting the truth of the dogma whole.

    Why do we willingly buy into this? It is a FACT that most people are too ignorant to realise what they are doing. Fortunately, I know enough about the dangers of dogma to keep myself above the frey.

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