Last week I wrote about how long it takes to become a true expert. Today, I want to look at the opposite side of the equation — at how quickly it takes to become an instant expert. By instant expert, I mean someone who has a bit more experience than the next person and capitalizes on that. Think about all the bloggers you enjoy reading who were as well known as your Uncle Jim a few years ago and now are “must reads.”
As a fascinating article in the New York Times puts it:
“ A generation ago, you went to the doctor to find out about the pain in your knew; now you go to WebMD, diagnose it yourself and tell him what medicines you want. People used to trust stockbrokers and insurance agents; now they buy and sell at E*Trade and compare policies online. American voters who once looked to newspaper columnists for guidance on politics now blog their own idle punditry. Suddenly, experience is downright suspect.”
Calling it the “cult of the amateur,” the article reflects on the fact that inexperience has almost becoming a qualifier for a US presidential run.
Of course, the article is not advocating inexperience, which often masquerades as arrogance unshaped by judgment. But it is reflecting on the times – the fact that there is now unprecedented opportunity to brand yourself as an expert. Where else, for example, would a junior senator like Barack Obama with just a few years experience on the national scene be running for president? Where else can someone who was unknown last year suddenly become an expert in politics or marketing or podcasting?
Are you taking full advantage of this historic opportunity to brand yourself as an expert and expand your reach of influence? If you are doing just that, I’d love to hear your story.