Did you ever collect baseball cards?
If so then you’re already familiar with Beckett, the bible-like price guide that kids in the late 80’s and early 90’s studied for hours on end.
Behind the glossy cover lay pages of cheap newsprint filled with row after row of card prices. Organized by year and set the guide contained a price for every card produced.
Familiarity with the layout was so great that locating the entry for the Greg Jefferies 1988 rookie card from Donruss was a quick task.
But the information of value associated with the entry wasn’t the price. And this is an important observation.
No, the price for Griffey’s Upper Deck rookie card or the various versions of Fleer’s infamous Billy Ripken card were of little interest.
The reason that I and so many other kids spent hundred’s of hours each month deep in the details of the guide was the presence of a little arrow to the right of every entry.
An arrow. Sometimes pointing down. Sometimes up. It communicated the trend, and that was where all the value was.
Everyone knew the value of Griffey’s card as well as all others. We knew which cards were rare, uncommon, and common. The absolute value was not important. The valuable information - all of it - was in the trend: the short-term relative change.
A simple arrow. Sometimes pointing down. Sometimes up. Communicating everything.
And as the speed of information increases the relative value only becomes increasingly more important.