Knowledge: The Little Seed Hiding a Giant Sequoia Within

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” said Benjamin Franklin. He was a leading author, printer, politician, Statesman, scientist, inventor, and diplomat. He formed the first public lending library in the U.S. and the first Fire Department in Pennsylvania. Credit goes to Benjamin Franklin for inventions of the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, odometer and bifocal lenses. He also went on to advise us: “No man was ever glorious, who was not laborious.”

With traditional job, business, contracting opportunities dwindling at a fast rate, we are getting to realize the significance of learning new trades. An unforeseen number of educational avenues are opening up everywhere so we could retrain and save ourselves from the ax of unemployment falling over our heads. The days of high school and/or basic degree/diploma courses to gain lifelong employment have gone the way of the ‘Dodo Bird.’

A number of labor-intensive chores have switched from human domain to that of machines/gadgets/appliances/equipment and/or high-speed vehicles. Farming, laundry, communication, education/training, meal preparation for the masses, even healthcare and surgeries are slowly but surely becoming dependent upon machination. Robots are here to replace humans in almost every hazardous situation like fire-fighting, mining, and lumber industry. Deployment of robots in the warehouses at Amazon was a major news headline not too long ago.

With the growth of the Internet, communities in far-flung areas across developing, even under-developed countries have realized the power at their disposal. Students keen to acquire highest levels of education can join almost free-of-cost online universities. They can compete with the best brains upon completion of their courses and vie for lucrative opportunities anywhere in the world.

The above development makes it amply clear that geographic boundaries are falling to the wayside when it comes to competition. It is surprising to see an ever higher percentage of immigrants from developing and/or under-developed countries running major global corporations in the developed society. How could that be possible if not for their knowledge?

Stories abound of the young, the untiring and the distinguished individuals that created multi-billion dollar empires out of humble beings based upon their revolutionary ideas. They created major disruption and went against the tide to create their own niche. Modern-day Uber, Lyft, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla and thousands of other outstanding business models are born out of a combination of knowledge and unflinching belief of the founders.

The immense pool of hidden talent has started making its impact as knowledge is slowly getting out of the domain of the rich and the wealthy. Examples galore of the deprived childhood bent upon making its mark to become the greatest inventor of all times. Yes, I am talking about Thomas Alva Edison. He attended school for only a few months whereupon his mother took on the responsibility to teach him at home. Once his father’s business declined and the family moved to Port Huron, Michigan, he ended up selling candy and newspapers on the trains.

Out of all the fourteen businesses Edison started, one survived and thrived beyond imagination. We know it as General Electric, one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world. Who has not heard the awe-inspiring story of Michelangelo, the multi-talented artist whose frescoes adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as a scene from Genesis and The Last Judgment on the altar wall? One of his most famous quotes goes like this: “A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.”

Each one of the individuals credited with the absolutely fascinating business empires in the modern world can testify to the fact that but for knowledge put to its best use they would be nowhere near such heights. Whether we study Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, the most common thread relates to their own knowledge as the guiding principle behind each success. They dared choose the direction away from the trend and brought forth such technological wonders.

Bill Gates created an immensely popular computer program for the masses (Microsoft Windows). Steve Jobs gave us the Smart Phone (Apple). Jeff Bezos gave us an immensely powerful medium of online shopping (Amazon), while Garrett Camp and Travis C. Kalanick gave us the convenience of on-demand automobile (Uber). Mark Zuckerberg gave us Social Media (Facebook) and, Elon Musk brought us independence from fossil fuels through his creation of the electric automobile (Tesla).

As we move on, there are so many advancements taking shape in the minds of creative thinkers that will prove to be the game-changers for the common man. “Internet of things” is gradually making its impact in various spheres while different segments of society put to use their knowledge in exploiting the gains of this technology. What seemed to be a formidable task only a few decades ago in terms of talking to a distant relative has come out to be a child's play. We do not even need a telephone line to reach out and still watch them live on our computer screen while talking to each other in real time.

The day is not far when we shall be able to use the ‘Internet of Touch and Feel’ in its new ‘avatar’ of ‘Tactile Internet.’ Scientists are busy solving the bandwidth puzzle after conducting necessary tests in lab conditions.

Are you ready to experience a warm handshake with a distant friend or a hug from a relative sitting across the Continent? Your wait is about to end soon, very soon!

Can you still dispute the power of knowledge as an investment to earn the highest possible returns yet?

I do not think so…

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