Has Sourcing Become Scouring? (Then What?)

HD-Scour-PadsI was reading an article today about the ferocious talent wars for tech going on right now in Silicon Valley and a sentence caught my eye.

“Whether she is scouring Stanford or Parsons for up-and-comers or more established candidates, de Baubigny says, ‘I am always very open-minded about what good talent looks like.’”

Maybe it’s because I watched a new show this morning called Brain Games

or maybe it’s because I’m a compulsive anagrammer, or maybe it’s my Dyslexia kicking in — for whatever reason when I read the word “scouring” I saw “sourcing.”

I started to think.

Has sourcing become scouring?

I believe it has.

What a few of us began doing (and talking about) in the latter days of the 20th century and on into the present century has turned into an incessant scouring (for many) of what can be found on the Internet.

Scour means: To subject (a place, text, etc.) to a thorough search in order to locate something.

It also means:  To clean or brighten the surface of (something) by rubbing it hard, typically with an abrasive or detergent as in “he scoured the bathtub.”

I know this.

When I scour my porcelain surfaces with an abrasive (or detergent) over time it doesn’t get brighter — it gets duller.

Most bath manufacturers warn against using abrasives on their products; in fact in some the use of abrasives will negate a warranty!

There’s a TV ad that surfaces from time to time. In it a husband sits at a computer with his wife in the background (doing something- maybe cooking) and he says to her:

“Honey, I’ve reached the end of the Internet.”

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Don’t laugh.

There’s always truth in humor.

In our incessant quest for information on the Internet are we scouring away the shiny, dulling the blade as we scrub, scrub, scrub each day expecting new results?

You know what they say about insanity.

There’s an old Clay Walker song called “Then What.”

You’ve heard it if you listen (at all) to country music.

Then what are… you gonna do

When the new wears off and the old shines through

And it ain’t really love and it aint really lust

You ain’t anybody anyone’s gonna trust

Then what, where you gonna turn

When you can’t turn back for the bridges you burn

And fate can’t wait to kick you in the butt

Then what?

In our sourcing scouring are we burning bridges?

Has fate intervened making some of us obsolete?

Have we sourced scoured ourselves out of existence?

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!