While yesterday’s discussion around the purchasing of professional services was certainly more Mayday than Bay Day, I am confident that the new middle is slowly emerging (or, at the very least, about to emerge) in the professional services space as well. But first, I need to spend some time setting the context on the evolving nature of information.
When I was young, information was scarce and expensive. As a prairie farm boy, I was very fortunate that my parents were willing to spend a small fortune on Encyclopaedia Britannica and its much awaited Annuals. Given the meagre resources of my three room schoolhouse and the absence of a community library, the Encyclopaedia Britannica was effectively my single accessible source of information. While our family did have access to a couple of TV channels and a range of radio stations, the books and magazines in my house and school room (together with the knowledge of my parents, teachers, community, and, to a certain extent, siblings!) were the only sources of information on demand.
Fast forward to the world of my teenage daughter who has grown up in an era where information is free and readily accessible. While she has ready access to treasure trove of books and other reference materials that would have would have both bewildered and delighted me at her age, her first reaction to any question is to “google it” or check the Wikipedia entry. In this new world, it is both sobering and fitting that Jorge Cauz, Britannica’s president, should announce in March of this year that it would not produce any new print editions of its encyclopaedia.
So what does this evolution of information from “scarce and expensive” to “free and accessible” mean for the world of professional services and its new middle? Since that will be my topic for the next couple of day, please stay tuned!