The So-Called Expert

How do you define expert?

How do you define expert?

I have always been leery of so-called experts. A long time ago I worked for a company that implemented a major Enterprise Resource Planning project. We simply did not have enough experienced staff so we hired an outside consulting firm to help offset our staff shortage. The consulting company was one of the well respected ones of their day and we were paying huge hourly rates for these people. They had Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and then they had some that were supposed to be the smartest of the bunch who were project leads. The project leads were $350 a hour. The SMEs were $150 an hour. Turns out the SMEs were mostly college students who went through a two week “boot camp” on the topic they were hired for and often we were their first customers. Before the project was over, we let the company go and decided, thanks but no thanks. From that I became skeptical of any one who called themselves an expert.

Years later we hired a consultant again who was highly recommended. We even interviewed him ahead of time having learned our lesson from previous consultants. He was a rock star, at least at interviewing. He knew all the buzzwords and since the product we needed help with we only knew a little, it seemed he was a good fit. When he arrived we left him to his own devices so to speak because again, we were short staffed. However, he began to ask a lot of basic questions that he should have known the answer to. An analogy that comes to mind is a baker. Because a person worked in a bakery and frosted cakes, doesn’t make him a baker. When our baker left, we had to not only clean the kitchen but destroy the bakery. One day out of the blue I received a call from someone looking to hire this consultant and asking for a reference. Not wanting to say anything bad, I said, “He is good at the things he does well.”

When your life is over, what do you want to be known as an expert in?Click To Tweet

Today I was looking on Klout, which I know has lost a lot of significance and has struggled to find a new identity, but I find it interesting what they say and sometimes the Klout scores tell you something about people you are thinking of following or who are giving you advice on topics you care about. I looked and Klout said I was an expert in a lot of things.

Klout Expert Items

These are picked by Klout and not by me, supposedly based on the content I post about on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. The Starred ones are what Klout says I am an expert on. The checkboxes are the ones that I sort of agree on. But there are some that I just don’t understand. The Bible and Christianity. Those jump out at me. I am a Christian but I am not an expert at it. I know most of the things I am supposed to do as a Christian, but I not always faithful to God as I should be. And while I read the Bible and have read it cover to cover a few times and I have done Bible studies and do research on my own about the Bible, again, I am not an expert. I want to be but even if I were a Seminary schooled preacher, I will never know all there is to know about the Bible. And Walmart? Why am I am expert on Walmart? I don’t recall ever posting about that. Google Fiber, I know a lot about but not being an actual Google Fiber customer, there are things I probably will not know because experience is usually the best teacher.

Are you an expert? How do you define expert? How about those around you who say they are experts? Are they?


Sorry Microsoft, Teens use Google Drive

Editor’s Note: This article originally was posted on LinkedIn.

Dec 3, 2014

Why? First the price point for a Chromebook is much less than an Apple iPad, Chromebooks have built in keyboards (though I have been curious why Google never tried Chrome OS on a tablet), and Google Drive with Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides makes it super easy for teachers and students to share and collaborate together. And with Google’s Cloud storage on the back end, students can’t say the dog ate their homework. Students are able to access Google on their smartphones, home computers, tablets, and essentially any Internet connected device. Though I have yet to be able to easily access it via my TV. Though the recent addition of being able to Chromecast videos from Google Drive on Chromebooks may be the start of sharing other Google Drive elements.

The general consensus: Teens like to work on-the-go and in collaborative ways and almost all of their school work happens on the internet. — JILLIAN D’ONFRO
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And in businesses, more and more companies are using Google Apps for Business. My professional and writing life I use Google Apps extensively. At work co-workers and I are able to collaborate on documents in real time. It is extremely useful to be able to work on the exact same document or spreadsheet at the same time. Incorporating Google Hangouts and being able leave comments or even chat while in the document have been a boon to our productivity.

As a writer, I have written my last couple of books using Google Docs exclusively. Being able to edit my work anywhere and on my every device is great. When meeting with editors and collaborators who make suggestions, I can make changes and edits while we are still talking via a tablet or even my phone (if I can pull it away from my ear mid-conversation). Even at home, Google Drive apps make it very easy to share with others everything from shopping lists to Christmas lists to budgets to the presentation for the next PTO meeting.

These very reasons may explain why under Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s direction, Microsoft is working hard to get there office suite on more than just Windows based devices. Microsoft used to give away or sell cheaper copies of Office, Windows, and developer tools to college students in order to ensure they “drank the Kool-Aid” before hitting the corporate world. If Office was all they used in College, well, it made sense for them to use it in the work place. If Microsoft can’t quickly become the de facto standard again in schools and colleges, Microsoft Office may skip this generation of kids, which means it will skip this generation of adults.

Do you use Microsoft Word at home or work still?