Before building a product - how do you know what product to build? While building a product - how do you know what features are the most valuable? After you've built a product - how do you know if to tune stuff or add a new one?
Throughout the human history, information was the critical tool. Knowledge was equal to respect and influence. Access to information was pivotal to success. Knowledge was hard to obtain and therefore was regarded as the highest value. Then came the Internet.