Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Information security
Information security

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1 Information: the heart of everything with value

In May 2016, Coca-Cola’s shareholders valued the company at almost US $200 billion. Their accountants placed its value at US $24.91 billion (Wolfram Alpha, 2016a).

Why the difference? Is this just accountants being prissy?

Well, no. Accountants like to work on the realised value of the company, called book value; that is the total value of its tangible assets: its property, computers, manufacturing plant etc.

In contrast, shareholders value the things in a company that can make money, called it’s market value. So on top of the tangible assets, their interest includes the information that a company holds. For Coca-Cola, that includes John S. Pemberton’s famous recipe which, according to Coca-Cola’s investors, could be worth anything up to US $175bn.

Activity 1: Coca-Cola’s secret recipe

Using Wikipedia – or a similar online tool – find out what you can about the recipe for Coca-Cola.


From Wikipedia [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (2016a), it appears that the secret of the recipe comes down to the ‘7X formula’, a special blend of oils, herbs and spices such as orange, cinnamon and coriander. Wikipedia lists them and their proportions, but we don’t know for certain whether Coca-Cola actually contains them nor their proportions.

You might like to try making it.