With the advent and evolution of “the web” that part of the Internet that most people see as “The Internet”, the previously held notion that all information was proprietary and commoditized has been supplanted by the notion that information should be free and open and the normal socioeconomic barriers that determine who knew what have been shattered in the phenomenon frequently referred to the democratizing effects of information on the Internet.
Professionals who previously held tight control on information within their domain, whether it was lawyers, physicians, physical therapists or any other profession, need to recognize that their closely held treasure trove of information is no longer their proprietary commodity to be doled out at a price they solely determine.
Citizens can now look up medical conditions, treatments, drug trials, laws, regulations, court filings, contracts, rehabilitation regimens or practically any other information that is able to be printed or disseminated in some form of media as it all eventually ends up freely available on the web somewhere.
If we stipulate that information is not the proprietary commodity it once was and is likely never to be again, what value do professionals bring to the table that consumers will be willing to pay for? Simply it is Expertise. Expertise is not easily or quickly acquired. It is an accumulation of skill, knowledge and experience.
The question then becomes how does one market expertise versus knowledge. In my next post we will examine some tools and potential tools to address this issue.