Saturday, January 14, 2006

Knowledge potfolio

I have been reading "The Pragmatic Programmer" recently. It's really an inspiring book that presents the authors' own practical experience and wisdom.
I've just finished chapter 1 and found an analogy the author uses very interesting. It compares knowledge assets with financial investment.
Good investors invest regularly and as a habit. They also diversify the investments and balance the risky-high reward and conservative ones.
It is a very useful analogy. It is beneficial to treat own knowledge and experience in the same way no matter what we do. To add my 1/2 cent, I have found four deviations to this analogy:
First, our knowledge assets expires! It is particularly true in the fast growing IT industry. Many of the things we learn today may be irrelevant in 5 years time.
Second, we may choose to trade time and effort directly into knowledge assets. Financial investors do earn income through variours ways but those income generally are at much lower scale than their investment assets.
Third, we can share but not sell the investment. A investor can cut the loss by selling out a bad investment. But we can't sell the knowledge we gained and get the time spent on it back. Therefore we have to be much more careful about what we invest our time in.
Fourth, the knowledge investments generates different things in return. We generally get financial reward from them. Financial investments grows (get more of themselves in return) overtime in return. Of course, both can degenerate which is part of the investment risk.


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