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Search vs Find

(March 08, 2005) - Yesterday, we started talking about Chris Locke's new blog, Chief Blogging Officer. In addition to the very interesting demonstration of outsourcing a blog as a way to build a brand, Chris is writing thought provoking material about "search". Although he takes a very long way around the question, he's essentially saying that the contemporary problem is that we get lots of search results but can't find what we need.

Maybe this is what they're talking about when they say that there is a disturbing undercurrent of resentment brewing against the job boards and their shallow approaches to sourcing. There's a rule about the value of information here. Something like:

The value of an individual search result declines as the number of results increase. That's probably just a way of saying that it isn't really information anymore when there's too much of it.

It seems like Locke is really talking about two very different forms of searching; looking for answers or trying to find the right questions. In the first case, looking for answers, the hope and prayer is that the result of searching will be a clear answer. It is in this set of expectations that most resume database management systems fail. One question produces more and more mediocre answers.

The second approach to searching, working to develop a better question, requires confidence and trust in your abilities as a finder. One discovery takes you to the next leap through an unchartable (and somewhat unrepeatable) pattern of very intimate connections in your very own working brain. Serendipity, a somewhat unbusinesslike value, provides surprisingly powerful results. By really devoting search time to being certain that you understand the result you seek, you get far better (and more interesting) results.

Search tools that fail to provide this sort of work process fail when results are critical.

Valuable Search Related Links:

John Sumser

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