Information Is Power


Yesterday, I met a man. He’s a man who piqued my curiosity and bought me lunch, a heavy one at that. He speaks low in voice; raspy to a point you think he has a perpetual sore throat. But hidden within is a rather fascinating depth of information and tempered wisdom, aged over the years, with a slightly greying scalp to prove it.

This man drives with his hand on the emergency brake handle. Now let me make it just how clearly chilling and ominous it is to be driven by a man who seems to have no faith in the safety of his own car; a man who seems to expect danger to rocket at you from around that blind bend.

But I got it all wrong. His hand always fidgets further along the brake handle, and lower, below an old rag, there lies an aged pair of secateurs. He tells me of his passion for farming, always going to his father’s coffee farm, to examine his bequeathal. He owns no farm of his own, and yet he carries a pair of pruning instruments at the ready to diligently keep these treasured coffee bushes in shape.

I ask him why he doesn’t do any farming of his own. He quickly laughs, adopting a hazy far-away look to his eyes, as he tells of how he once tried and failed, miserably!

He blames all his failure on one thing: lack of information. He didn’t have it then. He’s made amends to that over time though. The regional agricultural show is the only regular event he ever attends, apart from church that is. And he reveals that his diary has a farmer’s open day slotted in for the next day.

He doesn’t do all this so as to eventually start of on his own Biblical escapade of “tilling the earth”. No, he’s only after one thing: INFORMATION.

Information is gold. His words, not mine. Myself, I would say that “Information is power” but a certain Game of Thrones episode makes me re-think that (Remember Cersei and Littlefinger?)

Think of it though: just how much can you achieve when you have the info to effectively manipulate matters and elements at hand? Let’s take a few examples, wont we?

Did you know that all the bypasses being built around Nairobi had been planned for since 1974 or dates thereabout? Did you know that maps detailing these exact roads have been stashed in archives and/or offices all over the country, some readily available and others shrouded in red tape?

Additionally, you know that almost all natural resources in Kenya have been mapped, even those in negligible amounts. The oil in Turkana, the gold in Kakamega(did you know Ikolomani is the local interpretation of “Gold Mine”), the iron in Meru-land, the coal in Ukambani, the niobium and titanium in Kwale! Honestly, I think so much of this has been known and sometimes exploited for years prior to it becoming public knowledge. Or at least, until speculators and the big-boys are able to take up their strategic places on this economic chessboard.

Let’s take an agricultural twist now, and with a more relevant view to the man who drives with a hand on the handbrake. Coffee farmers in Kenya are some of the most oppressed and manipulated individuals in the entire farming sector. But do they know that if they get rid of that middle-man they would almost make two-fold of what they earn now. What of the place of futures and options in the trading of agricultural commodities? How about a Kenyan commodity exchange a la Ethiopia? Look what there’s has done for their coffee farmers. This, of course, applies across the board. All major agricultural commodities in Kenya never benefit the grower, and here we are talking of improving our agriculture. You start off with disseminating that info, and watch the fireworks displays ensue.

As for matters educational, I’ll stick to fields I’m aware of. Who knew of arbitration and/or other professional papers and qualifications that may supplement ones degree in this saturated market? Actuarial science graduates (I learnt recently just how different they are from actuaries themselves), how many actually knew/know of the relevant professional papers?

I bet you’re going to ask, where do I get this info? Hell if I know! I’m just that clueless fella trying to bore you, finish this post and get to bed, hehe. But on the real though, I will stick to rudimentary sources. The internet: it’s rather self-explanatory, especially if you look hard enough.

Newspapers: these are tricky though. Lately, they’re more gutter-press, scandalous and conformist than being thought-drivers and information disseminators.

Think of newspapers as an investment. At the end of a week/ month/ year of buying them, sit back and do the math. How much money did you spend/invest in newspapers? How much returns have you made from the same? What information did you gain? Or did you just learn of a new scandal, or how who was or was not blocked at an airport; or who hosted some PR gimmick in the name of a media breakfast? What did you gain? Or did you just help increase NMG’s or SGL’s market capitalization? (Same case applies to self-help books, for those who still read use up their time reading them.) That should explain why the only newspaper I  ever buy is Business Daily, and even rarely at that.

Information is a powerful thing. Just read about data-mining and the opportunity it unearths and the reality will dawn on you. He who owns your data, OWNS YOU! Information rules the world.

It’s all up to you. It’s all about how hard you look, how eager you are to find it, how ambitious and dedicated one is.

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