So I’m going to talk to you about attention. And, you know, I’m incredibly privileged because right now I’ve got all of your attention. And that attention has value. And if you understand the true value of attention, you can achieve some remarkable things.
Now, essentially, for a very long time, we never really had to think about attention and what it sort of meant to us. But with the advent of information technology, and of course, the internet, we’ve now got the kind of mechanism available to us that measures all the inputs of our attention. And if you can then measure all of that, you can then appreciate that it has some sort of value. Now, obviously, the value that it has just depends on what’s commanding your attention. But there was such a amount of thought that went into this, that an organization called the tension trust, essentially, laid out a kind of a credo, if you will, for what attention is really all about and how it should be protected, and therefore valued.
So I started off this presentation by putting this up there, because essentially, our attention has a great deal of value. And as we have sort of evolved sociologically and economically over the last 150 years or so, I’m beyond, you can see that the amount of attention the amount of inputs that have necessarily compiled to the human condition, have grown considerably over time, because when you’re in the agrarian society, there wasn’t that much going on in your life that commanded your attention. But you know, fast forward to where we are today, and you think about all of the sources of potential parties that you have to give your attention to. It’s mind boggling. And so from an economic perspective, the rapid growth of information causes a scarcity of attention. And this was identified in 1971. And then in 1997, in a really a landmark piece on the web by Michael Goldhaber.
He looked at the potential impact of the internet on our attention and what it might mean for us. And the first observation that certainly struck a chord with me when I read it a few years ago is that economists are governed by what’s scarce and information, especially on the net is abundant but overflowing with drowning in the stuff. And of course, conversely to that there’s something else that moves through the net flowing in the opposite direction. And that is attention.