As of late I’ve had a very negative perception of "experts”, so much so that it led to a volley of tweets on my Twitter stream. As my tweeps pressed me, I was forced to consider my position and really think about why I have such distain for the term. My realization is I don’t take exception to one being an expert but how marketing has built a "used car" approach to the term.
My primary issue with the marketing use of the term “expert” comes from those who are self-proclaimed experts utilizing the term merely to drive sales. I consider them dangerous people, who normally offer a feeling of security when none should exist. Now of course none of this is fact, it’s built from my own experiences and the marketing environment I’ve been exposed to. I am in no way the "expert" on experts.
I believe that one can gain expertise, even become an expert, but in my experience experts are hard to find. In my opinion experts are not quick to out themselves, often times they don’t consider themselves experts. You’ll often find experts listening and discussing rather than lecturing or publishing. Experts are willing to work as a team, and smart enough to realize they can never capture all the knowledge of an expanding field. Experts remain perpetual students and crave additional knowledge.
Two great tweets from Jeff De Cagna, Chief Strategist and Founder of Principled Innovation LLC, sum it up for me:
I also like my son’s definition:
In my opinion true experts never allow themselves to be fooled into a position that they’ve mastered the information. They continue to push and inspire change and have the ability to learn from others regardless of the pecking order of things. They practice humility rather than seeking recognition and are available to utilize their knowledge to help make sense out of complex problems.
If you disagree with me, that’s fine. I consider myself a perpetual learner so perhaps you can teach this old dog new tricks. I’ll leave you with one last tweet from Jeff, who I believe has expertise in this area:
What do you think, give me your "expert" opinion!