Information Is Power

This thought has been reflecting in my mind for the last 8-9 months. Ultimately, it was one such incident where Information was used as a tool of power (and it was my lack of information and someone's possession of information) which prompted me to write this note.

Information Is Power
Let me start with a humorous anecdote. This is joke which I must have heard a decade back. It's a bit saucy, but gives an important lesson - Information Is Power.

A woman is just getting out of the shower when the doorbell rings. Her husband, heading to the shower himself, asks her to see who's at the door, so she wraps herself up in a towel and runs downstairs. 

When she opens the door, there stands her next-door neighbor, Rob. Before she can say a word, Rob says, "I'll give you $500 dollars to drop that towel you have on." 

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of him. He looks for a few seconds, hands her $500 dollars, and leaves. 

Excited about her earnings, the woman puts the towel back on and runs upstairs. Her husband yells out from the shower, "Who was that?" "It was Rob from next door," she replies. 

"Great," the husband says. "Did he say anything about the $500 dollars he owes me?"

The woman was not Jennifer Aniston.

Jennifer Aniston - Lolavie
The moral of the story was summarized as below.
If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

In simple terms, if you posses some useful and critical information, share it with your partners and stakeholders. It will be beneficial for you and for them. If you do not share, you and your stakeholder are at a risk of being exploited.

Well, if this was a joke, I faced a real life situation akin to the above. Me and my friend desperately sought some information from someone. We had a very strong opinion that possession of this information was crucial for the functioning of some subsequent important events.

As luck would turn out, some of the subsequent events failed. And the cause of the failure turned out to be revolving around the very information which we were desperately seeking. 

If we had access to that information, we could have possibly avoided the failure.

Things had happened, and it was not the time for any blame game. We had to put up an united front, manage the situation and resolve it.

And we reflected on a few thoughts - what if we were in possession of that piece of information which we were seeking? Could we have had avoided the present situation?

Well, that situation was recoverable to a fair extent. But that might not be the case in other situation. We learnt the same lesson again - Information Is Power.

In the corporate world, you might have heard about Insider Trading. Recently, Mr. Rajat Gupta, a former director of Goldman Sachs and a respected Indian in the USA, was accused of divulging and sharing important information, to which he was privy, with his close friend. 

Rajat Gupta Insider Trading 
His friend - Raj Rajaratnam - used the information to get some substantial monetary benefit. In this case, Information was a powerful element. It might have been shared accidentally. However, it was utilized for incorrect purposes.

This brings us to another very important lesson - Think with whom you are sharing the information. Share information on a need to know basis.

Lastly, let me share the lesson which I learnt recently. Many a times, you find yourself in a situation where someone is holding back information purposefully. Or conveying a twisted form of that information. 

This is usually done because if the information is shared correctly, completely and in the right spirit, it will be detrimental to that persons interest. And beneficial to your interest. 

Insider Trading Cartoon
In this world of intense competition, such things happen. Sadly, I learnt this lesson the hard way.

And lastly, there are fools like me, who do not utilize the information they have at hand. In the situation mentioned above, I reasoned with my mind - "I should not possess this information. Even if I possess, I should not use this information."

I convinced my mind not to use this information. And when someone projected the wrong information to me, when the correct information was known to me, I accepted it at face value. And I fell on my face. 

Well, maybe I need to learn a bit more on this topic. Until then, I think I should hold on to my belief - use the information that I have at my hand appropriately. And share the information I possess appropriately.

Information Is Power Information Is Power Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Thursday, December 22, 2011 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Wow...really good post. I think people should go through it. Thank you for sharing.

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