Over the last 20 years, most jobs based on being a gatekeeper have disappeared, as shared a few days ago in Tell Your Story Yourself. Access to information is similar – if you try to hide information because you think you can, you’re only lowering the degree to which you’ll be seen as an expert.
In the classic book “Freakonomics” they say:
“It is common for one party to a transaction to have better information than another party. In the parlance of economists, such a case is known as an information asymmetry. We accept as a verity of capitalism that someone (usually an expert) knows more than someone else (usually a consumer). But information asymmetries everywhere have in fact been gravely wounded by the Internet.”
Of course, expertise still matters. Even if people have access to the same information as you (which they almost certainly do), your expertise is still very valuable. Also from the book:
“Experts depend on the fact that you don’t have the information they do. Or that you are so befuddled by the complexity of their operation that you wouldn’t know what to do with the information if you had it. Or that you are so in awe of their expertise that you wouldn’t dare challenge them.”
This is why many of us tend to give away everything that we know. First, we’re not really “giving away” anything — the information is out there. Secondly, though, by giving away information wrapped in our insights, people know to turn to us when questions arise.
Being a gatekeeper of knowledge was a valuable role for many years, but if you think that’s still what you’re doing today you’re likely in big trouble.