Therein lies the problem, the presumption that there is so little to know about optimizing sites, structures, content models, for search engine discovery that it can be picked up by osmosis, in a single class or seminar or by trolling a few blogs or books. You've been on search analytics for a few years Lou. I've been almost fully dedicated to search for over 6 and still learn every day.
My issue is that we don't change the algorithm. It changes on us and we're left to catch up. Most SEOs that I know lack a fundamental understanding of the underlying technology and a lack of foresight on how computer systems work. So, the propellerheads, not the SEOs, are leading the charge. The direction is dictated by the system they are building, not necessarily human factors. Most of the SEOs that I encounter are still doing keyword optimization and link building. Buh Bye to the effectiveness of those strategies says the Panda update.
I'll continue to light candles in church that I'm wrong. What I see around me says that I'm not and I find our conversation oddly not-reassuring that anything will change.
Sigh. THanks guys, the conversation has been a pleasure nonetheless.