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OR What to do when Google fails you

The other day I was brainstorming an idea for a web business I’m doing this summer with a few friends, and we were stuck on a critical piece of data. We couldn’t wrap our heads around how to find a key piece of data we needed. We tried searching on google, but weren’t getting the RIGHT results. Remember google and other search engines are as much about how you define your request as what you’re searching for. It is all about the parameters.

Then all of a sudden I remembered reading a snippet from a book written by Seth Godin 10+ years ago about how when he was in college in the pre-internet age, he would call long distance late in the night to the University of Hawaii research library, which was 6 hours behind time wise, and ask their research librarian to help find stuff. Since I was searching for this information on a Saturday afternoon, I quickly started googling universities I knew of a few time zones back, and found one that was open on Saturdays. One phone call later, and a quick 2 minute conversation later, and I had the source site I needed and the key data I wanted in order to build out my biz model. The research librarian was able to help me uncover the dataset I needed incredibly quickly.

So next time you’re building out a business model/plan, and need a key piece of data and google is failing you, turn to your librarians. They are the original search engines after all.