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The Diary of Anne Ku
6 June 2000 Tuesday
INFORMATION AND UNCERTAINTY
The book Information Rules is about the economics of information, or rather, the rules that apply to an information society. My review of it reminds me that I need to summarise another book I read last year: Smart Choices, which talks about the value of information and other decision analysis techniques.
I noticed that uncertainty is greatest the moment you land in a foreign country. That is when you need to get used to the surroundings and make many instantaneous decisions. Should you change the money while waiting for your bags? Should you change the money outside the airport? Unless you have everything sorted out beforehand, such uncertainty could be quite stressful. Since information could reduce or even remove this uncertainty, what is the value of preparing yourself to avoid this uncertainty? That is the value of information.
Getting the right information at the right time is of great value. This differentiates the good airports from the bad. Amsterdam's Schipol Airport has signs everywhere so you cannot get lost. If you do need help, the Dutch are multi-lingual and offer information before you even ask for it. Unfortunately, it was departing from Heathrow that posed most problematic for me. I queued for 20 minutes at the ticket collection desk before being told that I had an "e-ticket" and therefore could check in without a ticket. However, after checking in, the agent said that I needed to go back to the ticket collection desk to get an itinerary printout otherwise I would have problems coming back. With less than 30 minutes before departure, I was really agitated and worried that I would miss my flight. After running to the boarding gate, out of breath and blue in the face, I could just scream when I learned that the plane hadn't even arrived!
the economics of information
the value of information