What is Information Worth? – 2.11 Million Dollars

I was just reading my email, as I do several times each day. One of my quickest clicks in my inbox is always items from Google alerts. These alerts bring many interesting ideas and stories from around the World and the Word Wide web.

The unique eBay story delivered to me by Google and immediately catching my eye today, relayed the facts surrounding an incredible amount of cold hard cash someone actually paid to sit down & lunch with a very smart man. 

The price was extreme, the lunch is not included, the proceeds go to charity.

Read this Reuters story about how some very wealthy man paid 2.11 Million Dollars on eBay to sit down with a more wealthy man – Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, to have lunch.   I assume the winner of this outrageous charity auction hopes to glean some sort of incredible insight into the business of investment banking.  Otherwise he is just a generous soul who wanted to help the homeless in San Fransisco all the way from his home in China.

This was one of the highest grossing transactions ever completed through eBay and certainly for charity using the eBay auction platform.

In any case, this story brings to light a real commodity in the world wide economy… Information.

People have always paid for, worked for or tried to steal information and they always will. Information is as valuable as Gold or Silver and it is much more portable.  The Word and the people in it are starving for information and in these times of instant Internet access and endless streams of data, we just want more.

If you are an expert at anything, if you know how to build, or create or maintain or manage or control something better than anyone else, you have a commodity worthy of merchandising. 

Think about what it is you know that others would like to know.  It does not have to be the secret of life or a million page document.  It could be as simple as a new and very exciting way to knit doilies (not exciting to me but you get the idea).  Anything someone would like to learn could be something of value.

Warren Buffett’s lunch time is worth 2.11 million dollars… Your knowledge may not bring that kind of price, but if you could sell it 10,000 times at $9.99 each time, you would not complain.

Think about what you know… It could be worthwhile.

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0 Responses to What is Information Worth? – 2.11 Million Dollars

  1. David Yaskulka June 29, 2008 at 12:18 am #

    Great post, Scott (always love your blog).

    It’s worth noting that when you’re selling something with a charitable component, buyer motivation becomes more complex.

    For example, when investor Monish Pabrai won lunch with Warren Buffett last year for “just” $650,000 he was quoted widely in the media saying that his purchase had to do with more than access to information:

    Pabrai said he didn’t mind spending the money for the auction because he has learned so much from Buffett about investing and life. `This is as close as I can come to paying off the tuition that’s due,” said Pabrai.

    I don’t know what the motivations were for this year’s $2.1 million bidder. But I’m guessing you’re right: information is at least a part of it.


  2. Scott Pooler June 29, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    Hi David and thanks for your great comment!

    You are certainly correct, there are numerous possible motivating factors behind the amount of money bid this year to brunch with Buffett.

    Exposure – Bidding 2.11 Million for a lunch date will bring enormous amounts of press attention, make your customers and your competitions customers sit up and take notice.

    Pure Philanthropy – Maybe the man is just a generous sort and feels good about helping others in need.

    Debt – Possibly as you say (or as the previous winner was quoted as saying and I am paraphrasing here; all the brokerage and investment world feels they owe a debt to Mr. Buffett for showing them a way to become just a little bit richer each and every moment of every day.

    Or, maybe it was just the possibility of spending a few short moments with the man. We do not know.

    I am confident my post was more about inspiring people to think of what it is they may know and someone else would like to know… This kind of asset is valuable.

    Many people do not see themselves as experts; however, many people are just that. From baking pies to fixing plumbing to working as a court stenographer…

    Everyone has some sort of knowledge other people might be interested in learning.

    Teaching Sells… Inspiring buyers interested in niche products with a free guide… on collecting or using or re-selling those products, is just one of a million ways to use knowledge to gain customers and/or earn extra income.

    Warren Buffett holds a yearly stockholder meeting in Omaha. Part party, part convention and part educational retreat. People invest in Berkshire Hathaway because Warren Buffett taught them how to give his fund their money.

    Teaching Sells….

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