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Investing in knowledge is investing for the future

In the past year, the word “sharing economy” became more familiar in China. It is especially welcomed in the Chinese market as China has the largest population in the world, so the model popular in western countries may not be the same in China.

Massive open online courses (MOOC) are popular among users, especially students who benefit from this model of sharing classes. A teacher that gives a lesson to a student one-on-one will take an hour. That same teacher can also teach 1,000 students that same class for an hour as well if he has the opportunity to have access to 1,000 students. He can easily earn more than he can earn before from the one-on-one lesson.

A decade ago, this was not possible as there was not enough Internet bandwidth so there was no chance to learn something new online. Today, we can easily acquire knowledge online thanks to the speedy development of some technologies such as online payment and video recording.

Changing mindsets with tech advancements

Most people don’t think it is a good way to study through the Internet at home, but now their minds have changed with the advancements in tech. Not only do we just purchase things online, but we also search for viral services on the Internet.

Knowledge is virtual and exist as bit data on the Internet. This can be easily delivered online by someone who needs to use this knowledge. As far as I know, people prefer having free knowledge regardless of which country they come from.

Piracy has become a serious problem in China because China is behind in this field, and businesses can easily accomplish their purposes through some free method. Also, China has the largest network market, and they can embed advertisements anywhere regardless of the quality of the content.

Increasing demand for high quality content

This type of economy has now gained attention, and lots of content startups have emerged from this market as they saw something that others could not imagined. The most important factor is the upmarket of consumption in China. Now, there is a group of people that focus more on the quality of knowledge or viral content available online than on the price of content. They would like to pay more for high quality knowledge. This includes books with beautiful typesetting, podcasts without embedded advertisement, customized newspaper subscriptions, and other various services.

Thus, this type of sharing economy now gives most people equal access to these content that we tried in vain to pursue in the past. Through the Internet in present day, we can access the latest and most valuable knowledge.

The world is fragmented, time is scarce

We used to say that this world is flat, but we should now say that the world is fragmented. We only have 24 hours a day, but new things appear everyday and this is far beyond what we can deal with. So I try to make use of any short time that I have to learn or browse something new.

As a social media marketer with no more than two years of work experience, I use my most valuable time to improve my working skills and collaborate with others. Besides improving my working skills, I also pursue other interests such as reading and physics. This can’t be accomplished easily if I only depended on myself. Though I have self-discipline and really enjoy learning new skills, I also encounter many problems and have trouble continuing. So I was wondering whether there are ways to make this process better and quicker as I want to master these skills and knowledge before I grow old.

Thanks to the Internet and technology, these types of learning processes are readily available. I read a lot of the latest articles written by some famous people, and make good use of my available time. With my mobile phone, I can read these articles anywhere and it is also easier to make notes on it. I can even talk into the speaker and the voice recognition function can capture my speech into written words on the mobile phone.

Podcasts and Audiobooks galore

I start my day by reading articles on a mobile phone app called Dedao which is produced by Luogic Show. I subscribed to five columns that are produced by men who have influence in specific industries. Just like Li Xiang who is famous for writing about business weekly, Li Xiao Lai, who has the largest number of bitcoins in China, also writes for the weekly column. This is how I try to keep up with the latest information in the industry.

(far left) Le Xiang’s business column featured on Dedao. Screenshot from Dedao website

I also listen to podcasts and audiobooks during my commutes. I use some applications such as Overcast, ximalaya, and Amazon’s Audible. I also like to listen to TED talks, “This American Life”, and some news podcasts. With the internet and tech, we can really enjoy the merits of globalization.

Quality content at a small cost

The last point I would like to add is that most of these products are paid subscriptions, but they are not so expensive. At about RMB 200 per subscription, the main users of these types of products are people who have worked for more than five years. They have understood what they want to pursue and they are willing pay for it as they lack the time and attention to search for suitable study material on the Internet. As for myself, I wanted to accelerate the process of learning so I started learning in this way, and I have benefitted from this.

I believe this type of paid content will become popular in China, and now many startups have set out on this. Less and less people will chase after pirated and free content as we know that free is never better. Once the government tackles piracy problems, more of these paid content will flourish.

We all want a better future, and a small investment on our knowledge will go a long way.

(Top photo from

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