Nodes of Knowledge

Where does learning take place? Connotations of Sister Mary Alberta and the
typical classroom setting dance about my head. Nun Typical that is, of forty years ago. Typical was a stern face pressed down upon by a starched habit. Typical was a two foot long ruler forged of
titanium steel and ribbed with razors. Typical was painful. But typical
still comes to mind when I think about learning. The school classroom of yesteryear was

The school classroom has traveled a great distance since the
days of Sister Mary Alberta. You’ve only to look at this screen to realize how far it’s gone. 

Bob, who belongs to the same trade association, tells you of
a time saving technique to use in Excel. Mary, your barber, tells you of an out-of-this-world restaurant. Harry, your mechanic, tells you of a software
program that will help keep track of maintenance. Emma, your coworker, hooks you up with an
online writing course.  The nodes in our networks are today and tomorrow’s classroom.

Now, hyperlink those nodes.  Can you say  Vulcan Mind Probe ?  The power of hyperlinking our networks is without fences.  How many times have we visited each other’s sites and followed a link to another site and to another site?Person_at_a_computer  Hours go by and we hardly even notice.  Picture yourself as a farmer.  Imagine that each connection is a seed planted.  Suppose that perodic contact with those connections is a sunshine and water injection into fertile soil.  Celebrate the harvest opportunity.

At one point in Henry Ford’s lifetime, he sued a Chicago newspaper for calling him "an ignorant pacifist."  Once on the witness stand, the opposing lawyers asked him questions to try and prove his ignorance.  Tired of the verbal onslaught, Ford asked why he should clutter up his mind with general knowledge when he had men around him who could answer any question that he needed.  Aren’t those who value knowledge within their networks somewhat like Henry Ford?

The Xerox corporation once tried to implement a software program in their call center to help solve customer problems.  The program was a database of solutions that were to be accessed by employees.  Because employees were not using the software, Xerox created a contest to see who could accumulate the most points for solving customer problems – using either the software or by their own means.  The winner was Carlos, an eight-year employee who was pistol smart and never used the software.  The runner up was Trish, who had only been with the company for four months and had no previous copier experience.

Trish’s edge?  She sat next to Carlos.  Trish also built her own collection of knowledge by asking her coworkers for tips. 

Think about your own situation. Do you plod through knowledge databases and reference manuals, or do you e-mail / call an acquaintance who you’re sure knows the answer?


I feel most fortunate to be part of the Ho’ohana community here and have the opportunity of wisdom and knowledge but one phone call or click away – minus of course the titanium steel barbed with razors!



Dave Rothacker
reviews Most Excellent Books, Businesses and Folks at Rothacker Reviews.


  1. says

    Dave, now I have even better understanding of why you enjoyed my Brother George story! I had a Sister Mary too (more like 5 of them), and now that I think about it they set a standard for me which set me up for my college epiphany. As for the rest of your fine post, while you’ve illustrated well the “vastness” of learning possibilities in today’s world, there’s still good old person-to-person learning that oftentimes is the best learning (like your Xerox example). I just might opt for that e-mail now instead of Google! Thanks.

  2. says

    Dave, nice writing. You have highlighted the “Power of We” where one plus one is more than three. The connections amongst the Ho’ohana community are not yet leveraged to their fullest. And that is okay. It will be great fun continuing to explore the common items (Brother George/Sister Mary, et al) amongst us, and reaching out (via email, IM, or blog posts) to learn from each other, and to leverage each others connections. I am ready. The day is young.

  3. says

    Nodes of Knowledge

    It’s my turn today at Talking Story . The Ho’ohana Community at Talking Story consists of folks who try to make a difference in the lives of others while in continuous pursuit of self-improvement. Conversation is always stimulating. This month

  4. says

    Dave – GREAT article. We are blessed to have you with us as part of our community, as your enthusiasm for books is contagious. We are all in this world together, so we might as well connect up and help each other. Thanks for the reminder. Wonderfully written article!

  5. says

    “Imagine that each connection is a seed planted.”
    Dave – What a great image indeed! For many of us, learning has moved beyond the school room into the “cool” room – beyond forced sweat work into our networks. We connect and learn; link and learn. Learning is both the fertilizer and the bounty.
    Thanks for the image.

  6. says

    You are right on the money with my associations Terry!
    The potentiality of unleveraged connections here is most intriguing Steve!
    Pure thoughts from a master connector Phil!
    The acknowledgement that one has beamed an image via the written word is a writer’s highest reward Blaine!

  7. says

    Just off a plane, yet again, catching up and reading newest to oldest, and so it strikes me Dave, that for me in this moment, your article so eloquently answers the Googling benefit over encyclopedias (context is in my comment for Dwayne, 9/15 post) —chances are, people are at the end of those clicks we make! With the encyclopedia it was pure imagination, but now we can make these incredible connections with an author, an artist, a photographer, the person who shares our passions.
    The friendships we have made and continue to nurture are showing off some pretty incredible blossoms here. I wonder what we’ll be doing, sharing, and learning, when this is considered typical?

  8. says

    Bravo Dave! You have nailed it for me perfectly why I feel so humbled to be part of this community and awed by the amount of wisdom and passion I read in this forum and on everyone’s sites. We are connected here and are able to reach through our computer keyboards to feel that web of knowledge (virtual shoulder grip from Spock).
    Mahalo for helping me find the words and sharing your insight.