January 21, 2011

Questions Are The New Answers

I admit it: I was always the annoying kid in class with her hand up. I was (and still am) a voracious reader who loved knowing the answers; that led me to a lifelong obsession with crosswords, an appearance on Jeopardy (alas, I didn't win - my answers were better than my hand-eye coordination) and a reputation among friends and family as something of a human Google.

Google, however, has made answers much less important than they used to be. Now, anyone can find the answers.  Asking the right questions, as seasoned search engine users, skilled managers, and clever future prognosticators know, is what matters.

That's one of the reasons I really like Quora, which I've just started using. It's satisfying to read smart answers, and to come up with your own. But smart questions make you ask more questions, and that's even better.

Jeopardy, of course, requires an answer in the form of a question.  But if the question is good enough, is an answer necessary?

Charles Ives knew.

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