My friend and colleague, Miles Austin, published an interesting blog post yesterday about the rise of the instant expert. I want to share it with you because he’s talking about an issue that is relevant to anyone who reads a blog or watches a YouTube video to learn something new.
The ready availability of easy to use blogging, podcasting and video tools have made it easier for anyone with an idea to attempt to build an audience. There are no tests or qualifications required to represent yourself as an expert. Just a smartphone (or a microphone, camera and a perhaps a computer). The question Miles raises is the following: Is this unfiltered proliferation of “experts” a good thing for consumers of information or a potential danger?
Personally, I think it’s great.
We live in a society that is based on a marketplace of ideas. If you want to build and sustain an audience for your own ideas, you need to have something valuable and interesting to offer. The blogging stars and YouTube phenomenons of today will quickly be forgotten if they can’t innovate and continue to provide content of value that captures the attention or imagination of an audience.
Look at our political arena in the US. There are 11 candidates (currently) for the GOP presidential nomination. And, objectively, at most two of those people have the expertise and experience that we would normally associate with being a president. But, a presidential campaign is ultimately about ideas and exciting the imagination of voters, not expertise or a track record. If not for the power of ideas, how else could a junior senator from Illinois rise from obscurity to become the most powerful elected official on earth in less than four years?
Personally, I find it exciting that technology has helped to open access to our markets for such a variety of ideas. People are free to choose and use, or try out and discard, any ideas or ideology that they wish. We can’t legislate what ideas people should believe.
Much as in the political sphere, I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of the sales advice that I read, hear and see online. But if an idea about sales, or particular content, attracts an audience then there must be some value to it. It doesn’t matter to me if the source is a proven expert or a self-appointed expert. It’s worth my time to spend a few minutes to uncover whatever that value is.
After all, I am fully aware that even after decades of successful sales experience, I don’t know everything there is to know about sales and marketing. And, if I can pick up just one new idea, one new approach or sales technique, one new nugget of sales advice that I can share with my audience, then that investment of time will have paid off.
The challenge for you, my readers, as consumers of information, is to find the expert(s) whose advice and guidance works for you. In a market place of ideas, it’s strictly caveat emptor. And, if one expert’s advice doesn’t produce results for you, then stop reading and listening to them and find someone new to follow.
Here’s a link to Miles’ article. I encourage everyone to read it. Miles asks for your comments. How do you decide who’s an expert who’s worth listening to?